NASA Targets 3D Printing For Astronauts, Cheap Satellites

Lucas Mearian | Computerworld | September 18, 2013

Astronauts could create fixes for space station problems; 3D-printed satellites could provide Internet Wi-Fi for everyone on Earth

NASA contractors have created 3D printed satellites -- tiny wafers that could be deployed by the hundreds from a mother ship -- to cheaply transmit research data back to Earth.

"One of the biggest hurdles that NASA faces is understanding how to reliably build many satellites, many spacecraft ... in a reliable and low-weight way," said Matthew Reyes, founder of Exploration Solutions, a subcontractor for NASA's Ames Research Center (ARC).

Reyes spoke at the Inside 3D Printing Conference and Expo here this week, emphasizing how the 3D printing process can ensure that parts are made to exact specifications by simply having a computer follow CAD-created designs.

Those CAD-created designs could be transmitted to outer space.