Ariane 6 will launch 3D Printing technology into space

Ariane 6 will launch 3D printing technology

Ariane 6 will launch 3D Printing technology into space

A new rocket, Ariane 6 of Europe, will launch 3D Printing technology into space in June-July 2024. 3D printing technology refers to creating physical 3D objects from digital designs by combining materials. 

However, innovative 3D printing technology launched in space is part of the Replicator project. The Replicator is an Orbital Matter project that is one of the noteworthy missions that will create 3D printing technology in space. 

Replicator for 3D printing in open space

This project comes in partnership between Warsaw, Poland, and Germany-based startup Orbital Matter. This mission seeks to show how 3D printing can be applied to orbit, possibly opening the door to new opportunities for building new space buildings using fewer resources with Orbital Matter’s Replicator. 

It focuses on producing substantial space infrastructure components in orbit on the Moon and Mars. Hence, Orbital Matter hopes to become the first construction business in space. Their heat-free 3D printing technology speeds up the construction building process in a vacuum.

3D Printing underwent its first space trial on the International Space Station in 2014. It also worked well for making tools and spare parts on demand. However, no 3D printing technology hasn’t exposed to work in open space, which is much harder than in the Space Station. 

The vacuum printer onboard Orbital Matter’s Replicator CubeSat. Credit: European Space Agency

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Large constructions might be made directly in space using fewer resources. So, larger telescopes, space stations, communication antennae, and solar power plants could form from this technology. 

Orbital Matter has created 3D printing technology in a vacuum through Replicator on Earth. Hence, they will carry out their first-in-orbit demonstration with the first launch of the 3D printing technology of Ariane 6 next month. It will print a 50-centimeter-long beam from a satellite CubeSat.

However, it will be their first test in space. Jakub Stojek is CEO of Orbital Matter Project. He said their 3D printing in space is a great example of European technological independence in space. Hence, it can establish rapid prototyping for startups across Europe in the future. 

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