NASA Technology Maturation Plan for In-space Manufacturing of Metals

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Date

2023

Authors

Roberts, Christopher E.
Ledbetter, Frank
Jones, Jennifer M.
Courtright, Zach
Blanchard, Alexander

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Publisher

University of Texas at Austin

Abstract

As the International Space Station’s (ISS) life approaches its end, NASA intends to travel back to the Moon and establish a sustainable presence, paving a pathway towards Mars. A fundamental shift in the current logistics strategy is required to support extended missions. Ondemand manufacturing enables reduced operational cost and increased long term sustainability providing a pathway towards reducing NASA’s logistics burden. The In-Space Manufacturing (ISM) portfolio at Marshall Space Flight Center is developing additive polymers, metals, and electronics manufacturing technologies to enable a sustainable presence on the Moon and enable long-duration transit missions. Manufacturing systems for in-space applications must meet a unique set of constraints requiring a maturation path independent from processes targeted for terrestrial use. In May 2023, the On Demand Manufacturing of Metals (ODMM) project, part of the ISM portfolio funded through the Game Changing Development (GCD) program office, was canceled; however, prior to cancelation, the engineering team developed a technology maturation plan for in-space manufacturing of metallic components. The status of ODMM at closeout and an overview of the technology maturation plan for ODMM are discussed.

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