The off-earth production will make a giant leap in a few years.
NASA has awarded the Californian start-up Made In Space with $ 73.7 million to develop the company's " Archinaut " satellite technology orbital test.
The demonstration ship "Archinaut One" will be launched into orbit around 2022 onboard a Rocket Lab Electron Booster, NASA officials said Friday (July 12). In the air, Archinaut One prints two 10 meter long rays that extend from each side of the spacecraft.
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Over time, these beams will use solar arrays that can generate five times more current than conventional panels "The manufacture and assembly of robots in space are undeniable and fundamental," they added capabilities for future space exploration, "said Jim Reuter, deputy administrator of NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate, in a statement "By taking the lead in developing this transformative technology, the United States will maintain its leadership in space exploration as we advance with astronauts to the Moon and then to Mars."
Made In Space has developed Archinaut for several Years as part of a contract with NASA on "Tipping Points Technologies." Today's announcement st launches the second phase of this agreement, Agency representatives said.
Archinaut has a 3D printer and robotic manipulator arms. Together, this technology will eventually enable the ship to perform a variety of valuable tasks off-planet, from repairing and upgrading satellites (such as ultralight solar systems) to building huge structures such as space telescopes, according to Made In Space representatives.
Archinaut has already passed several major tests here on Earth. For example, the 3D printer produced several structures in 201
This chamber did not induce microgravity, but other Made In Space technologies have proven its suitability in such conditions. For example, the company built and released two 3D printers for the International Space Station (ISS) and another Made In Space machine aboard the Orbiting Lab has produced a valuable fiber-optic cable called ZBLAN  Made In Space sees ZBLAN's off-earth production (19459004) as a commercial promise, and the ISS work is a test of the economics of the idea.
Mike Walls Book on the Search for a Strange Life " Out There " (Grand Central Publishing, 2018, illustrated by Karl Tate ) is available now. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall . Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom or Facebook .