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A 3D printer used aboard the ISS produces the first ceramic part made in space

A 3D printer used aboard the ISS produces the first ceramic part made in space

Written by Paul

December 20, 2020

Red Wire Red Wire Technology, a manufacturer of mission-critical components for next-generation space travel, announced that its Ceramic Manufacturing Module (CMM) aboard the International Space Station 3D-printed the first ceramic component made in space.

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The CMM, operating autonomously, used stereolithography (SLA) technology and preceramic resins to manufacture the single-piece ceramic turbine blisk on orbit, along with a series of material-test coupons. Developed by Made In Space, a company Red Wire acquired in June 2020, the CMM is the first SLA printer to operate on orbit. The successful printing of the test samples in space is an important step toward demonstrating the proof-of-potential for the CMM to produce ceramic parts that exceed the quality of turbine components made on Earth, according to the company.

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The blisk and test coupons will be stowed aboard the SpaceX Dragon CRS-21 spacecraft and returned to Earth for analysis. “This is an exciting milestone for space-enabled manufacturing and signals the potential for new markets that could spur commercial activity in low-Earth orbit,” said Tom Campbell, president of Made In Space. He added that such efforts “could yield sustainable demand from terrestrial markets and […]

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