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Project Title:

Space-Based Additive Manufacturing of Space Hardware
PIN: DEPS-ASEB-12-02        

Major Unit:

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

Sub Unit: National Materials and Manufacturing Board DEPS
Aeronautics & Space Engineering Board DEPS

RSO: Day, Dwayne

Subject/Focus Area: Space and Aeronautics

Project Scope
The National Research Council will appoint an ad hoc committee to explore the implications of space-based additive manufacturing technologies for space operations and the manufacture of space hardware. In conducting the study and preparing its report the committee will:

• Assess the current state of additive manufacturing in the United States and worldwide (especially in the aerospace industries, universities, and national laboratories engaged in the design and manufacture of small satellites or respective subassemblies);
• Characterize the future states envisioned by the aerospace industries, universities, and national laboratories with respect to additive manufacturing and aerospace systems;
• Discuss the feasibility of the concept of space-based additive manufacturing of space hardware (including, but not limited to, a fully functional small spacecraft) that can
conduct or enable missions of relevance to NASA, the Air Force, and/or the national security space communities;
• Identify the science and technology gaps between current additive manufacturing capabilities and the capabilities required to enable a space-based additive manufacturing
concept, including those gaps that current trends indicate may be closed with commercial investments in additive manufacturing and those gaps that are likely to require
dedicated investments by the federal government.
• Assess the implications that a space-based additive manufacturing capability would have on launch requirements (e.g., launching raw materials versus fully assembled
spacecraft); overall satellite and payload designs; and in-space operations, such as possible reductions in mass and their implications for activities such as

The committee may also consider the following:
• The potential mission payloads and capabilities that could be expected from a space-based, additively manufactured spacecraft;
• The role in potential missions for a single spacecraft system manufactured in space by additive manufacturing or for multiple spacecraft systems, including disaggregated
constellations and fractionated satellites;
• Concepts of operations for space-based manufacture of space hardware (including small spacecraft) using additive manufacturing, including development, test and evaluation,
launch, deployment, and on-orbit command and control;
• Whether it is possible to develop a high-level heuristic tool that Air Force Space Command and other government organizations could use for first-order assessments of space-
based, additively manufactured small spacecraft concepts in their integrated planning and process efforts.

This project is being sponsored by: United States Air Force and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
The approximate starting date for the project is 07/09/2013
Final Report will be issued at the end of the project in approximately 18 months.

Project Duration: 18 months    

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Committee Membership
Committee Membership

 Meeting 1 - 08/20/2013
 Meeting 2 - 11/12/2013
 Meeting 3 - 12/13/2013
 Meeting 4 - 02/05/2014
 Meeting 5 - 02/27/2014
 Meeting 6 - 04/17/2014


Reports having no URL can be seen
at the Public Access Records Office
3D Printing in Space