Made in Space Developing Interferometer, Collaborating with Lowell Observatory On In Space Manufacturing

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Tipping point technology continues to expand via the NASA/Made in Space collaboration resulting in the Archinaut. And as this project geared up several years ago, few of us probably realized how extensive it would be, amidst so many other worldwide technological projects—and projections; however, this futuristic system still seems to be on track for changing the face of space missions and space manufacturing.

Now, Made in Space has announced the inception of Optimast-SCI (Structurally Connected Interferometer). Stemming from Archinaut, this system will bolster an ESPA-class smaller satellite with MIS space manufacturing technology.

The Optimast-SCI will also assist in further establishing technology from Lowell Observatory, long-time leaders in both innovation and research—as well as experts in astronomical optical interferometry (techniques used in astronomy for measuring and understanding more about relationships between specific wavelengths). This tool is a 20-meter optical boom with modular internal optics, serving as an Archinaut mission application that will leverage space manufacturing capabilities already tested in both orbit and thermal vacuum environments—allowing scientists and engineers to combine data from two separate types of wavelengths, and then analyze them.

The Optimast system has also been cleared for spaceflight and according to the most recent press release from Made in Space, it is a self-contained, scalable machine that will be able to manufacture microgravity-optimized structures on-orbit.

“The rapid evolution of our in-space manufacturing technology has introduced new, cost-effective capabilities to the market that can advance space exploration,” said Michael Snyder, Made In Space Chief Engineer. “The application of this technology allows humanity to access new astronomical observation capabilities to explore our universe and that is very exciting.”

The Optimast-SCI enables incredibly high resolution, with no atmospheric distortion, allowing it to serve for space missions related to:

  • Astrophysics
  • Planetary science
  • Earth remote sensing
  • Space situational awareness

The famed observatory, located in Flagstaff, Arizona, will now be able to see ‘objects of interest’ up to 10,000 times longer than normal. The Optimast-SCI offers many other benefits too as it will fit into programs they already offer at Lowell, is suitable for low-level space missions—and is affordable overall.

While many technological innovators today describe themselves as ‘pioneers,’ MIS has proven themselves over and over, with projects such as delivering the first 3D printer into space and collaborating on bioprinting at zero gravity with other high-tech companies. Their goal for the future is to create functional space structures that will allow for a range of different critical missions and applications—all related to Archinaut, which began gearing up in 2015 after MIS was chosen to develop the technology by NASA.

MIS will forever be famous as the first company to promote and make 3D printing possible in space, but along with Archinaut technology and all the contributions it has the potential to offer, MIS has numerous plans for space industrialization. Their research and development teams are working all over the US, with offices in Florida, California, Alabama, and Ohio. Find out more about MIS space projects here.

What do you think of this news? Let us know your thoughts; join the discussion of this and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

[Source / Images: Made in Space]
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