Microwave-Sized 3D Printer to be Sent to ISS

Microwave-Sized 3D Printer to be Sent to ISS

This week, Space X will carry the first 3D printer to the International Space Station (ISS). On September 20, NASA will send the fourth Space X Cargo Mission, which would be carrying many instruments and among them would be a 3D printer to the ISS.

NASA hopes that one day astronauts will be able to print replacement parts on long-term missions and would not be required to carry heavy spares. "The on-demand capability can revolutionize the constrained supply chain model we are limited to today and will be critical for exploration missions", affirmed printing project manager Niki Werkheiser.

Live Science explained that in the coming times, 3D printing technology will be very popular and have significant uses. One of the major benefits of having this technology would be that the process would be time-saving as it will take lesser time to come up with new technology in the market. Also, it is considered that the technology will drastically change as to how prototypes are created.

Before 3D technology came, a change in the design required the entire process to be repeated. But such is not the case with 3D printing as it allows to introduce changes in the design stage. After introducing the changes, a second improved prototype can be designed.

The 3-D printers come up with 3D objects by introducing layers of molten materials like plastic or metal alloys. The printer, which will be sent to ISS, will be of microwave size. The Dragon cargo spacecraft will be having more than 5,000 pounds of scientific equipment and supplies.

One more novel thing that will be carried to space station is a small flowering plant related to cabbage. Through this plant, scientists will be able to study plant growth and adaptations in space. This will be the fifth trip by a Dragon spacecraft to the ISS.

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