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  • Satellite Evolution Group

The world’s first metal 3D printer for space is on its way to the ISS

The metal 3D printer, aboard the Columbus module of the ISS  - Copyright ESA/NASA

Time for lift off! The first metal 3D printer, developed by Airbus for the European Space Agency (ESA), has been successfully launched a few hours ago from Florida, as part of the cargo of NASA’s NG20 International Space Station (ISS) resupply mission.

In a few days, it will be set-up in the Columbus module by European astronaut Andreas Mogensen, currently acting as ISS commander, and operated to 3D print the first ever metallic part in Space.


Overcoming miniaturisation and safety challenges, inherent to operating at temperatures above 1200 °C in a very controlled environment, teams from Airbus and AddUp, a global metal additive manufacturing company, have created a 3D printing technology demonstrator that can print metal objects in space. 


This cutting-edge technology has the potential to be a game-changer, enabling astronauts to produce metal parts themselves and thus enhancing future repair and manufacturing capabilities in space. It paves the way for the technologies humanity will need to maintain a consistent presence on the Moon. 


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