NASA creates history by successfully 3D printing first object in space
images courtesy of made in space




on-board the international space station (ISS) on november 24th, NASA and made in space created history by successfully 3D printing the first object in space. the hardware, a functional faceplate for the machine’s own extruder printhead has been additively manufactured in space, instead of being launched in a rocket from earth. developed in partnership with NASA’s marshall space flight center and ames research center, the project takes a step towards commercially and sustainably fabricating objects off of our planet.

the microgravity science glovebox resides in the columbus module on the space station




‘when the first human fashioned a tool from a rock, it couldn’t have been conceived that one day we’d be replicating the same fundamental idea in space,’ said aaron kemmer, CEO of made in space, inc. ‘we look at the operation of the 3D printer as a transformative moment, not just for space development, but for the capability of our species to live away from earth.’


‘this first print serves to demonstrate the potential of the technology to produce replacement parts on demand if a critical component fails in space,’ said jason dunn, chief technical officer for made in space.

commander barry ‘butch’ wilmore holds up the first 3D printed part made in space




the 3D maker ‘zero-g printer‘ was delivered to the ISS in september 2014 and was installed by astronauts in the station’s microgravity science glovebox, on november 17th. the next designs which are test coupons, parts and tools, will be created on earth and then digitally sent to the machine, where they are then made as physical objects in a matter of hours. these science experiments will be sent back to our planet in order to validate their design, methodology and technology assumptions, and to enable the made in space team to make further adjustments to the second 3D printer that is scheduled for delivery in early 2015.



the stages of the production process