It’s a match made in heaven…or maybe just in outer space. Today, Made In Space and Axiom Space announced their new joint agreement for manufacturing objects in low Earth orbit. The companies will be users and providers of one another’s space manufacturing capabilities. The partnership makes sense: Axiom is the leading developer of the first privately-owned commercial space station, and California-based Made In Space, co-creator of the Archinaut 3D printing space robot, is the only company that is actively producing 3D printed products in space. The agreement not only supports the continued growth of commercial manufacturing opportunities in space, but also represents Made In Space’s move from research to commercial manufacturing.
Axiom Space’s vision is to “make living and working in Earth orbit commonplace, to serving terrestrial markets and supporting deep space exploration.” The private company is busy creating the world’s first international commercial space station, which could eventually host tourists, government officials, researchers, and explorers. I almost feel like I’m living in an episode of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine right now! But I digress…according to the Axiom Space website, “Training starts in 2017. Missions start in 2019.” One of the services Axiom hopes to provide on its space station, in addition to space tourist and sovereign astronaut missions, is on-orbit manufacturing. So partnering with Made In Space for this groundbreaking work is a very smart decision.
Michael Suffredini, President and CEO of Axiom Space and former ISS Program Manager, said, “Made In Space carries a rich legacy in manufacturing. This partnership marks an important next step in humanity’s reach into space. In-space manufacturing provides a unique class of products beneficial to the communications, materials, and biomedical industries on Earth. Made In Space is an exemplary company to collaborate with to meet the demand for in-space manufacturing, and we are thrilled to build a partnership with the individuals who have proven their abilities in zero-g flights and on ISS.”
The two cutting-edge companies have been working together to figure out the actual logistics of in-space manufacturing. In order to answer manufacturing customers’ increasing demands, Axiom and Made In Space have been decking out the in-space factory with high-tech equipment, power, utilities, and thermal management. They are also working together to plan out the delivery of completed 3D printed space products to Earth, making sure the product quality will remain top notch during its flight down to our planet, and upon arrival.
Made In Space made history back in 2014, when the company launched the world’s first zero-gravity 3D printer and sent it to the International Space Station. Work began on the Archinaut architecture for NASA soon after, and now, the company is working on a system to be used aboard the Axiom Space Station that will “produce high-value optical fibers in space.” This technology, coupled with its eventual operation aboard the Axiom Space Station modules, is definitely “the way of the future” for both manufacturing and expanding space station capabilities.
Andrew Rush, CEO of Made In Space, said, “Axiom and Made in Space are adding to the space ecosystem, serving a growing market and enabling innovative approaches from processes learned on the International Space Station. This partnership allows us to continue to evolve and develop new products and allow our customers to invest in space manufacturing knowing that there will be an ongoing human presence on orbit. They are the ideal partner for manufacturing new technologies in space and leveraging our new capabilities.”
Discuss in the Made In Space forum at 3DPB.com.
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