There’s no shortage of unboxing videos on the web, but this one is definitely the first of its kind. It’s origins come from a lot of significant firsts that include the first 3D printer developed for use in zero-G, which became the first 3D printer sent to, installed, and used aboard the International Space Station. So naturally, this unique unboxing video reveals the very first 3D printed parts created in space.
The very special delivery contained 21 individually bagged 3D printed tools and parts. While the objects included in the parcel are examples of fully functional components and tools, including wrenches, the 3D printed items will not be used for any specific applications in space or here on Earth. Instead, they will be tested and analyzed to see if and how they differ from a control set of parts that were printed here by the same Made-In-Space developed 3D printer.
The Firsts Of More To Come
The parts and tools, which arrived on Earth this past February, are a pioneering step towards potentially creating objects directly aboard the ISS, as they’re needed. This could save time and room aboard the SpaceX Dragon and other future modes of space cargo carry.
Instead of NASA shipping up components and tools periodically, they could simply be printed out, as needed aboard the ISS, Not only could this potentially make life easier for our current astronauts—provided the zero-G printing process is sped up—it could help us be better prepared for future missions into deep space and on the surface of Mars.
Technology Taking Us Further Than Ever Before
3D printing technology could also mean a lot more than small parts and components on demand for our future space pioneers. 3D printed food, smaller crafts, and other essentials are all in the works at NASA. This technology may make it possible to develop the self-sustained systems that will make it possible to for manned space exploration that takes us to completely new reaches of our galaxy.
What do you think will be next for 3D printing technology aboard the International Space Station?