3D Printing in Space:
The Next Frontier

Previously Recorded on- Wednesday, July 16, 2014 2:00 pm ET

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has a long term strategy for In-space Manufacturing which includes fabricating components and equipment on-demand for human missions to the Moon, Mars, and beyond. To support this strategy, NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center (MSFC) and Made in Space, Inc. have developed the 3D Printing In Zero-G Technology Demonstration for the International Space Station (ISS). The 3D Printing In Zero-G experiment (‘3D Print’) will be the first machine ever to perform 3D printing in space.

The technology to produce parts on demand, in space, offers unique design options that are not possible through traditional manufacturing methods while offering cost-effective, high-precision, low-unit on-demand manufacturing. In addition to the obvious benefits of disrupting the traditional, and costly, supply chain for space missions, there is the value of being able to design and build a part in the microgravity environment, thus removing the standard structural constraints due to launch loads. This opens up a whole new design arena – designing for “zero-g” structures.

The 3D Printing In Zero-G experiment will serve as the enabling first step to realizing an additive manufacturing, print-on-demand “machine shop” for long-duration space missions.


Speaker Bios:

Niki Werkheiser
NASA Project Manager
3D Printing in Zero-G Technology
Marshall Space Flight Center

Niki Werkheiser
is the NASA Project Manager for the 3D Printing in Zero-G Technology Demonstration, which will launch on SpaceX-4 and be the first 3D Printer to operate on the International Space Station. Niki is developing the Roadmap and Implementation Plan for NASA’s In-space Manufacturing Vision, which will be critical to enabling Exploration missions.

Previous to this role, Niki served as the Project Manager for NASA’s Ares Crew Safety and Reliability Office. Ms. Werkheiser spent the majority of her career in NASA’s Space Shuttle and International Space Station Programs Payload Offices where she designed, developed, integrated, and operated multiple NASA payloads. Niki works for Ames Research Center in Mountain View, CA and is stationed at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL.

Ms. Werkheiser’s academic background includes a Master’s Degree from the University of Alabama in Huntsville with an emphasis in Gravitational and Space Biology, as well as a B.A. in Russian Studies and a B.S. in Biology

Michael Snyder
Director of R&D
Made in Space, Inc.

Michael Snyder currently is the Director of Research and Development and Lead Engineer at Made In Space and is heavily involved in the research and analysis of additive manufacturing techniques for use in the aerospace industry with emphasis placed on using that technology in space. He has tested experimental additive manufacturing machines in a simulated microgravity environment on in NASA’s Reduced Gravity Office supervised flights aboard the G-Force One Aircraft. Mr. Snyder is currently the Principal Investigator for two NASA funded contracts for in-space additive manufacturing. The 3D Printing in Zero-G Experiment launches to the International Space Station this year (2014) and the Additive Manufacturing Facility, a long-term additive manufacturing facility, which is anticipated for launch in 2015. Michael is the current secretary of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics’ Space Colonization Technical Committee and serves on the Executive Committee of the National Space Society.

His professional resume includes developmental work on multiple International Space Station payloads. He has designed or participated in the developmental testing and flight verification for six payloads to the ISS (flown aboard the ULF7, ULF5, HTV-2 and HTV-3 missions). He has published over a dozen technical papers and presented concepts for advanced space and Earth systems to international audiences and high profile domestic organizations and businesses. Michael received his Bachelor and Master Degrees in Aeronautical and Astronautical Engineering from The Ohio State University.

Stratasys manufactures 3D printing equipment and materials that create physical objects directly from digital data. Its systems range from affordable desktop 3D printers to large, advanced 3D production systems, making 3D printing more accessible than ever.

Manufacturers use Stratasys 3D Printers to create models and prototypes for new product design and testing, and to build finished goods in low volume. Educators use the technology to elevate research and learning in science, engineering, design and art. Hobbyists and entrepreneurs use Stratasys 3D Printing to expand manufacturing into the home — creating gifts, novelties, customized devices and inventions. Learn more at Stratasys.com.

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