At the frontier of in-space production: Harnessing microgravity for manufacturing


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Since the dawn of human space exploration, there have been dreams of manufacturing products in space of such quality and novelty that they improve life on Earth. And over the past 50 years, microgravity research has demonstrated that in-space production may outperform terrestrial processes in the manufacturing of some materials. The introduction of commercial launch service providers and orbital laboratories will open the door to realizing these dreams by reducing logistical costs and providing dedicated manufacturing facilities in space. In this paper, we define some of the physical and biological effects of microgravity and opportunities that this unique environment offers. We present a brief history of in- space production and three exemplary test cases: crystal production, organoids and microphysical systems, and complex solidification. With these microgravity effects and opportunities now coming into focus, we near a new frontier that realizes the dream of producing superior products in space.

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Journal: TechConnect Briefs
Volume: TechConnect Briefs 2021
Published: October 18, 2021
Pages: 4 - 7
Industry sector: Advanced Materials & Manufacturing
Topics: 3D Printing, Advanced Manufacturing
ISBN: 978-0-578-99550-2