NASA is exploring the possibility of using 3D printing technology to help build spacecraft.
NASA's Innovative Advanced Concepts program has awarded $100,000 to the "SpiderFab" project which aims to develop ideas for a spacecraft that could build parts of itself using materials salvaged from space debris or asteroids. The technology could one day allow large space projects to be built in orbit instead of having to fold them up to fit inside a rocket for launch from the ground.
"We'd like someday to be able to have a spacecraft create itself entirely from scratch, but realistically that's quite a ways out," said Tethers Unlimited Inc. CEO Robert Hoyt. "That's still science fiction."
"Using 3-D printers to build spacecraft parts in orbit would offer an easier way to construct huge space antennas or space telescope components 10 or 20 times larger than today's counterparts."
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Source: NBC News
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