Since private equity firm AE Industrial Partners formed Redwire Space in June 2020, the space startup has been driving disruptive technology innovations and proving it is one of the new leaders in mission-critical space solutions. Now Redwire has become one of the winners of the Florida-Israel Innovation Partnership Program. Along with StemRad, an Israeli developer of wearable technology designed to protect the human body from high doses of radiation, Redwire presented a project targeting in-space 3D printing of personal radiation shielding vest components from recycled thermoplastic polymers.
For this project, Redwire and StemRad will recycle polyethylene from packaging waste into filament for on-orbit additive manufacturing (AM) of polyethylene shielding inserts for StemRad’s personal radiation protection vests. Crewed missions traveling beyond the protective barrier of the Earth’s atmosphere for extended periods will require this equipment.
Once in space, astronauts encounter a host of harmful radiation levels, mainly from particles trapped in Earth’s magnetic field, solar flares, and galactic cosmic rays. In addition, with upcoming missions planned to the Moon and Mars in the following decades, astronauts will be exposed to the full radiation spectrum and its damaging effects. While attempting to solve this problem, StemRad began developing personal protective equipment against ionizing radiation. With aerospace giant Lockheed Martin, the startup created the AstroRad, specially designed protective gear for astronauts that markedly reduces Radiation Exposure Induced Death (REID), such as tissue damage and cancer.
Now, with Redwire, StemRad is figuring out a way for astronauts to print the shielding inserts directly in orbit. In-space additive manufacturing has been one of Redwire’s specialties since the acquisition of zero gravity AM provider Made In Space. The subsidiary sent the first 3D printing platform to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2014 and has continued to create microgravity devices ever since.
Just months after being acquired by Redwire, Made In Space relocated its headquarters and satellite manufacturing operations from Silicon Valley to a new headquarters facility in Jacksonville, Florida. The new site includes the capability to locally manufacture, test, and control spacecraft and in-space manufacturing equipment, including the 3D printing devices aboard the ISS.
Redwire’s Zero-G manufacturing heritage includes the commercially available Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF), a Fiber Optics (MIS Fiber) miniature fiber-pulling machine for producing optical fibers, a Plastic Recycler for processing waste plastic into feedstock filaments for the AMF, and the Ceramic Manufacturing Module. Soon, Redwire’s Archinaut spacecraft assembly technology for repairing existing satellites in orbit is expected to launch in 2022.
As one of the four winners of the Innovation Partnership Program, Redwire and StemRad will receive part of the $2 million funding to support the research, development, and commercialization of their aerospace and technology project. Redwire and StemRad competed against 19 joint proposals for the eighth-year award. They will share the price with fellow winners Craig Technologies and MTI Wireless Edge for the development of an antenna that can be used for space-ground and space-space applications; Everix Optical Filters and SolCold for using nanoparticle materials to create cooling-by-sunlight products; and LightPath Technologies and RP Optical Lab for developing an optoelectronics thermal imaging module for nanosatellites.
Created by Space Florida, the state’s own aerospace economic development agency, in partnership with the Israel Innovation Authority, an independent publicly funded agency, the Innovation Partnership Program supports joint aerospace research and development projects between Florida and Israeli companies.
Israel Innovation Authority Chairman Ami Appelbaum said that since its inception in 2013, the Israel-Florida collaboration on space-related technologies has produced great projects that could truly make a difference in the aerospace sector. In 2021, there has been a notable increase in the number of applications submitted compared to the previous year, as well as the noteworthy high quality of those projects, highlighted Appelbaum.
Both Redwire and StemRad are developing some of the most cutting-edge space technology, turning heads with their incredible innovations for off-Earth exploration. As future missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond, continue to take shape, these technologies will become the basis for the survival of crewed interplanetary missions and pave the way for the future of 3D printing in space.
Subscribe to Our Email Newsletter
Stay up-to-date on all the latest news from the 3D printing industry and receive information and offers from third party vendors.
You May Also Like
Biden Admin Announces Flurry of Reshoring Actions, Including Council on Supply Chain Resilience
Yesterday, I posted about the over $6 billion in new funding for US advanced manufacturing related to batteries and semiconductor packaging announced by the Biden administration to be awarded in...
Biden Admin Announces Over $6 Billion in Funding for Battery and Chip Advanced Manufacturing in November
In a development that has become routine for the Biden administration, the White House announced a total of more than $6 billion in new funding opportunities for advanced manufacturing applications...
America Makes and NCDMM Funding Now Tops $729M for American 3D Printing and Beyond
In a significant move to advance the U.S. manufacturing sector, the National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining (NCDMM) and America Makes have recently announced substantial ceiling increases on their...
US Army Reserve Test 3D Printed Explosives
In October 2023, US Army Reserve Soldiers assigned to the 102nd Training Division (Maneuver Support) attended a two-week Combat Engineer Reclassification Course at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, where they...
Upload your 3D Models and get them printed quickly and efficiently.