3D Printed Container Holds Student Experiments Ready to Go to Space

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Enterprise In Space (EIS) is an educational program run by the nonprofit National Space Society. Last year, it ran a competition called Print the Future, in which university student teams were given the chance to 3D print experiments on the Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF) aboard the International Space Station. Now EIS is sending more student experiments into space, and you can watch the launch when it happens this Saturday at 1:00 PM ET. The livestream will be available on the EXOS YouTube channel.

EXOS conducts a hover test of the SARGE rocket in March. [Image: EXOS Aerospace]

The student experiments, as well as additional research experiments, will fly into space aboard a reusable rocket, an EXOS Aerospace SARGE test flight.

“Reusable rocket technology makes it possible to cut the launch waiting period for a payload dramatically, while also reducing costs,” said EXOS Co-Founder and Chief Operating Officer John Quinn. “This lowers the barriers for the types of NewSpace education experiments made possible by Enterprise In Space (EIS).”

The EIS experiments were created at the Grand Center Arts Academy (GCAA) in St. Louis, Missouri. EIS worked with GCAA’s Andrew Goodinn and 24 students from his “Building Creative Confidence” class. Experiments include using the heat of space to melt crayons into space art, as well as determining the effects of the space environment on maple tree seeds that will be planted on Earth when they return from space. The class 3D printed a container to house the experiments. In less than two months, they 3D printed a cube housing and drop tested it to make sure that it would survive its trip on the rocket.

Several other experiments will be onboard the rocket as well. The Center for Applied Space Technology (CAST)-sponsored Biological Research in Canister (BRIC) experiment includes nine Petri dishes containing biological material, which are expected to have both terrestrial and long-duration space flight applications. BRIC supports two proof-of-concept projects in collaboration with the Mayo Clinic of Florida Space Medicine program. These include a passive flight crew monitoring system and an organ on a chip experiment.

EXOS is hosting the Enterprise In Space and CAST payloads as an in-kind contribution.

“This is the first of many anticipated suborbital research space flights,” said Shawn Case, EIS Founder and Chairman of the EIS Board. “Our goal is to inspire the next generation of future astronauts and space explorers by doing valuable scientific experiments in space. The experiments going up with the SARGE rocket look at some really cutting-edge science, and we’re thrilled to be able to launch the educational payload for Goodin’s class.”

EIS plans to work with EXOS in the future to develop an educational K-12 curriculum for the EIS Academy. The two institutions are building a long-term partnership involving space education.

The rocket is scheduled to launch on Saturday from New Mexico’s Spaceport America. The live stream will become active on the day of the flight, and you can tune in if you’d like to see the rocket begin its journey to carry the student and professional experiments into outer space. This will be the Pathfinder flight for the SARGE rocket.

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