NASA seeking proposals for on-demand in-space manufacturing

3D printing, subtractive manufacturing and automation for space

On-demand manufacturing is a fast-moving area of development showing great promise for on-site delivery of critical components across industries.  Currently, many available technologies print in a single material (plastic or metal) and require significant human input either for part removal, post-processing or validation efforts.  As development continues for methods such as additive manufacturing, advances in printing multiple materials or incorporating pre- and post-processing on a single system will enable the automation or remote operation of high-fidelity, high-strength component manufacture.

In 2016, NASA engaged yet2 to speak to leaders in the additive manufacturing, subtractive manufacturing and automation industries to learn the boundaries of what is possible for manufacturing in microgravity.  Based in part on what NASA learned from the yet2 efforts as well as an RFI released in late 2016, NASA recently released a pre-solicitation announcement for a Broad Agency Announcement aimed at encouraging industry to create or update technologies for on-demand manufacturing in space.  Concepts will be tested on the International Space Station.

Interested in responding?  Check out NASA’s pre-solicitation announcement and check back for details on the BAA.