Staff from Made in Space California made history this week when they emailed printing specifications for a ratcheting socket wrench to the International Space Station. Once the specifications were received, astronauts living at the space station were able to 3D print the wrench for their immediate use.
The socket wrench is the first object to be sent to the space station wirelessly then 3D printed in space. Creators of the printer Made in Space “overheard ISS Commander Barry Wilmore (who goes by “Butch”) mention over the radio that he needed one,” So they designed one and sent it to Barry wirelessly.
Made in Space launched their first printer in space in September 2014. The print of the socket wrench marks the end of their first experiment. Items printed in zero gravity will be bought back to earth and be compared to objects made on the earth’s surface.
Can you imagine a future where there is a 3D printer in every home? Rather than your child having their first experience in technology on your smart phone it could be on a personal 3D printer. This poses endless possibilities in both technology and innovation. Imagine what this could do for impoverished communities.
For a step by step explanation on how they did it see the Medium article here.
“When we do set up the first human colonies on the moon, Mars and beyond, we won’t use rockets to bring along everything we need. We’ll build what we need there, when we need it.”
It is a exciting future for our kids. The possibilities are endless.
Maree has over five years of experience in Occupational Health and Safety and in the development of safety standards, training workshops and improvement initiatives. She is passionate about health, safety and education. Maree, a mother of two children, has a Advanced Diploma in OHS and will be graduating soon with a B.Sc. (HSE) from Australia.