3D Printing in Zero Gravity Experiment

The Zero-G Printer is the first 3D printer designed to operate in zero gravity. Launched into orbit on September 21, 2014, the printer was built under a joint partnership between NASA MSFC and Made In Space. Contracted as the “3D Printing in Zero-G Experiment,” this first version of the Zero-G printer has ushered in the era of off-world manufacturing.

This initial version of the Zero-G Printer is serving as a test bed for understanding the long-term effects of microgravity on 3D printing, and how it can enable the future of space exploration. It is a culmination of contracts and development dating back to 2010 including microgravity tests with NASA’s Flight Opportunities Program, R&D contracts under NASA’s SBIR Programs, and development contracts with NASA MSFC.

Key Technologies

The ability for the printer to filter toxic gases and nanoparticles was one of the most important technical challenges for operation approval aboard the ISS

Due to the high cost of crew time, nearly every step of the printing process is remotely controlled.

The printer needed to withstand the rigors of a rocket launch yet still be consistent and accurate once it arrived.

  1. Environmental Control
  2. Remote Operation
  3. Rugged, Mission Critical Design