Made In Space (MIS) has successfully demonstrated Archinaut’s additive manufacturing and robotic assembly capabilities in a simulated space environment.
Through a NASA Tipping Point contract, thermal vacuum (TVAC) testing was carried out on the Archinaut system, fabricating the thermal and pressure environment satellites experience during Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
During the TVAC testing, autonomous reversible connection and joining techniques of 3D printed parts were demonstrated by MIS, as were pre-fabricated components like nodes and trusses via a robotic arm system and end effector. The robotics system can also address repairs and can be integrated into small sats for payload retrievals and installations. Printing and assembly operations were monitored and inspected by an internally developed camera system
Its performance in the TVAC testing validates the readiness of the technology to be deployed in the space environment.
“We are very proud of our team for achieving this critical proof point that ultimately lines us up for operational missions with customers in both government and commercial sectors,” commented Andrew Rush, President & CEO of Made In Space. “We look forward to the next steps of preparing Archinaut-enabled missions for flight.”
Made In Space first printed parts in a space-like environment back in August 2017, the company’s Extended Structure Additive Manufacturing Machine (ESAMM) becoming the first piece of hardware to successfully manufacture in those conditions. This piece of kit enables the Archinaut technology’s manufacturing prowess, which has been demonstrated in the printing of a 37.7 metre beam, the world’s longest 3D printed, non-assembled piece, per the Guinness Book of Records.
This beam, ESAMM, and Archinaut were all discussed on TCT Magazine’s visit to the Made In Space’s NASA Research Park facility last summer, in which the company made its ambitions very clear.