On Sunday, May 28th, the 101st iteration of the Indianapolis 500 took place, and history was made as Japanese driver Takuma Sato became the first Asian driver to win the race. The first British woman to ever compete in the Indianapolis 500 participated as well. Although Pippa Mann claimed that title back in 2011, she has returned to the Indy 500 several times since then, and this year she drove her best race yet, coming in 17th.
Mann’s excellent performance wasn’t the only notable aspect of her run this year, however. In 2017, Mann took on a new sponsor: Made In Space, the company responsible for the manufacture of the first 3D printer to travel to and be used in outer space (speaking of history-making moments). Since that first 3D printer landed on the International Space Station, Made In Space has delivered another printer to create the Additive Manufacturing Facility, and is working on the development of a massive, multiple-armed 3D printing robot to fabricate structures in the vacuum of space.
The Additive Manufacturing Facility has been used to 3D print an ever-growing number of things on the International Space Station, ranging from tools to art created from laughter to medical supplies to a representation of the Internet itself. Now, as part of Made In Space’s partnership with Mann, the company is planning to 3D print a pink ribbon in space.
Mann has been working with Susan G. Komen since 2014, and has driven the official Komen-sponsored pink and white car in the Indianapolis 500 for the last four races. Made In Space has agreed to help raise funds for the foundation by 3D printing its official pink ribbon logo at the Additive Manufacturing Facility on the International Space Station. The 3D printed ribbon will then be auctioned off, and the proceeds donated to Susan G. Komen for community outreach and research programs.
“When Made In Space reached out to me with their concept for this partnership, they immediately captured my attention and imagination. I’m so geeked out by this,” said Mann. “I always love it when our racing program partners also want to find ways to engage and support in our fund-raising mission for Susan G. Komen, but to me, the idea to tie these two promotions together in this way hit the cool factor out of the park. I love that we have a technologically advanced series that tech companies are interested in, and I’m so excited to have these guys on board, and to be part of producing this breast cancer ribbon in space this October!”
The ribbon will be 3D printed in October, but in all likelihood, the auction won’t happen until 2018. It may be quick to 3D print an item in space for in-space use, but 3D printing something on the International Space Station for and from Earth takes a bit longer. New designs have to be tested on the ground first to establish the best printer settings, at which point the files are digitally sent to the AMF. The parts are then 3D printed, removed from the printer and stowed in special bags until they can be returned to Earth during a resupply trip.
“We’re proud to sponsor Pippa for this year’s Indy 500,” said Andrew Rush, President and CEO, Made In Space. “As an aerospace company, we have a natural appreciation for engineering excellence and Indy racing is a great demonstration of that. Pippa is a terrific representative of the sport and fantastic role model. We are also excited to support Susan G. Komen’s important work of making an impact in the fight against breast cancer.”
You can follow Mann on social media (Twitter and Facebook) as well as Made In Space (Twitter and Facebook) to stay up to date on when the 3D printed ribbon will be available for auction. Discuss in the Made In Space forum at 3DPB.com.[Source/Images: courtesy of Pippa Mann]
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