With AMF, Made in Space aims to reduce both cost and wait times. According to Pitman, “Printing designs on AMF is comparatively immediate, and does not require the certification process since the materials we can print with have all gone through the certification process.”
Printing on AMF can help companies avoid the costly certification process and reduce the wait time to get to orbit. However, a 3D printer requires printing material which is just as costly as anything else to send to orbit. Because of this, Pitman said that the cost to 3D print on AMF will depend on the amount of print bed space taken up and generally ranges from $6,000 to $30,000, although there are discounts for STEM education initiatives.
So while 3D printing in space doesn’t come cheap, it could potentially be an attractive alternative for certain customers in unique situations. If anything, it’s an interesting new option that hasn’t been available up until now.
AMF is scheduled to launch on board the Cygnus cargo ship on Tuesday, March 22nd at 11:05 pm
SpaceX hopes to raise launch tempo after space station flight
SpaceX is targeting April 8 for the launch of its first resupply run to the International Space Station in nearly a year, a mission that the company hopes will mark the start of a rapid-fire launch manifest full of payloads waiting to fly.
The early April blastoff aboard SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket will be the company’s eighth of at least 26 space station cargo missions under contracts to NASA.
Launch of the Dragon supply ship from Cape Canaveral is set for approximately 4:43 p.m. EDT (2043 GMT) on April 8. It will mark the 23rd launch of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, and the third flight of an upgraded version of the two-stage booster burning densified, super-chilled liquid propellants.
The automated cargo capsule will reach the space station a few days later, delivering nearly 7,300 pounds (3,310 kilograms) of cargo, including spare parts, crew provisions, experiments and an experimental inflatable module to the research outpost.
SpaceX’s first cargo resupply contract signed in 2008 has been extended from 12 logistics missions to 20 flights, according to NASA. Orbital ATK, the other U.S. company currently flying supplies to the space station, initially had a contract for eight launches, and now is on the hook for 10 flights.
Both companies, plus newcomer Sierra Nevada Corp., won a fresh round of contracts with NASA in January to deliver cargo to the space station through 2024. The follow-on agreements guarantee each of the space transport providers at least six resupply missions to the space station.
SpaceX aims for up to 18 launches before the end of the year, three times more than the number of successful missions the company achieved in 2015.
“We hope to grow year-over-year,” said Gwynne Shotwell, president of SpaceX. “We only launched for half a year last year, and we still did six (successful) launches. This year, we’ll probably do about 18, and we’ll increase 30 to 50 percent year-over-year.”
NASA’s Inflatable Room Is Almost Ready
After years of planning, the Bigelow BEAM module is due to arrive at the space station next month.
We’ve written about inflatable space habitats several times since our first article on the subject appeared in 1999. Now, after years of planning, Bigelow Aerospace’s BEAM (Bigelow Expandable Activity Module) is getting ready for an April 8 launch to the space station, packed inside the “trunk” of a SpaceX Dragon cargo ship.
If the schedule holds, the Dragon will dock to the station a couple of days later. Then, sometime in late May or early June, ground controllers in Houston will use the station’s robotic arm to grab the BEAM and berth it to the orbiting outpost’s Tranquility node, where it will remain attached for the next two years.
Once berthed, BEAM will take about 45 minutes to inflate to its full length and diameter (see the inflation sequence in the video above), after which it will have an internal volume comparable to a small room. The module is made of tough fabric of a propriety formula (think of a tough spacesuit rather than a thin balloon), and should behave pretty much like any metal module already attached to the station.
This first mission is all about testing. Sensors will monitor temperature and air pressure inside the BEAM, keep watch on radiation levels, and check for meteoroid impacts. The plan is for astronauts to enter the module just two or three times in the first six months, and then only for a few hours at a time, although they can visit more frequently if they choose. The hatch will stay shut when nobody’s inside.
Based on their experience with two previous Genesis modules, which are still in orbit even though they’re no longr returning data, Bigelow engineers expect the BEAM to prove as good as any other module attached to the station, which should open the way for even bigger inflatables in the future.
Anbringen von BEAM-Modul an ISS
NASA Progresses Toward SpaceX Resupply Mission to Space Station
The Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), developed for NASA by Bigelow Aerospace, is lifted into SpaceX's Dragon spacecraft for transport to the International Space Station when the spacecraft launches at 4:43 p.m. Friday, April 8, from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida
NASA provider SpaceX is scheduled to launch its eighth Commercial Resupply Services mission to the International Space Station on Friday, April 8. NASA Television coverage of the launch begins at 3:30 p.m. EDT.
The SpaceX Dragon spacecraft is targeted to lift off on the company's Falcon 9 rocket at 4:43 p.m. from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station (CCAFS) in Florida, carrying science research, crew supplies and hardware to the orbiting laboratory in support of the Expedition 47 and 48 crews.
NASA TV also will air two briefings on Thursday, April 7. At 1 p.m., scientists and researchers will discuss some of the investigations to be delivered to the station, followed by a briefing by mission managers at 3:30 p.m. The briefings also will stream live on the agency’s website.
About 10 minutes after launch, Dragon will reach its preliminary orbit, deploy its solar arrays and begin a carefully choreographed series of thruster firings to reach the space station.
The spacecraft will arrive at the station Sunday, April 10, at which time NASA astronaut Jeff Williams and ESA (European Space Agency) astronaut Tim Peake will use the station’s robotic arm to capture the Dragon spacecraft. Ground commands will be sent from Houston to the station’s arm to install Dragon on the bottom side of the Harmony module for its stay at the space station. Live coverage of the rendezvous and capture will begin at 5:30 a.m. on NASA TV, with installation set to begin at 9:30 a.m.
The following day, the crew will pressurize the space between the station and Dragon and open the hatch between the two spacecraft.
The Dragon spacecraft will deliver almost 7,000 pounds of supplies and vehicle hardware to the orbital outpost and its crew. The cargo includes the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM), which will be attached to the space station to test the use of an expandable space habitat in microgravity. Scheduled to return to Earth in May, the Dragon spacecraft will bring back biological samples from astronauts, including those collected during NASA’s one-year mission.
The new experiments arriving to the station will help investigators study muscle atrophy and bone loss in space, use microgravity to seek insight into the interactions of particle flows at the nanoscale level and use protein crystal growth in microgravity to help in the design of new drugs to fight disease.
Dragon is scheduled to return to Earth on May 11. About five-and-a-half hours after it leaves the station, it will splash down in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Baja California.
Media at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida will have the opportunity to participate in special tours and briefings on April 7 and 8, as well as view the launch. The deadline for media to apply for accreditation for this launch has passed. For more information about media accreditation, contact Jennifer Horner at 321-867-6598 or email@example.com.
If the launch does not occur on Friday, April 8, the next launch opportunity is 4:20 p.m. Saturday, April 9, with NASA TV coverage starting at 3:15 p.m.
Update: 8.04.2016 / 20.26 MESZ
Start von SpaceX-8 Dragon Cargo LIVE-Frams