Additive manufacturing technology, also called additive layer manufacturing or 3-D Printing, is a forefront technology enabling manufacturing of tools as well minor items on Earth by adding material layer after layer, giving the desired shape to fulfill the intended scope. Applications of 3-D printing technology is also beneficial to producing, assembling and aggregating even larger structures in space, avoiding the huge costs of launching volume-intense pre-built items in orbit.
The Center for Near Space, a newly-born space research center belonging to the Italian Institute for the Future, is exploring to contribute to such an effort with its “OrbiTecture” project aimed at designing innovative space infrastructures for future settlements partially manufactured with 3-D printing technology, starting from minor module-elements and aggregating additional in-orbit-produced items up to a complete larger multi-functional orbital infrastructure.
This option would be more desirable in terms of costs than to afford building large structures and equipments on Earth, send by means of expendable – or even reusable – launchers, and deploy into space.
A further target would be using materials already in space such as components of died satellites or stations, as well as natural materials mined from asteroids and the Moon.
For the read of the original article, click here —> Additive Manufacturing Technology