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Relativity Space to build the first rocket 3D Printing factory

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With backing from NASA, rocket startup Relativity Space is creating the first autonomous rocket factory. The company is planning to produce 95% of rocket components with 3D printing, and the first orbital launch is expected in late 2020.

 

This is a guest contribution by Egor Driagin, Chief Marketing Officer at Top 3D Shop

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Source: www.relativityspace.com

The new agreement will provide the California-based startup with exclusive access to NASA’s infrastructure and financial aid from the Mississippi Development Authority for building a large-scale highly automated 3D printing rocket factory. The company will lease a 20,000-square-meter building at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center for nine years. The test stands and all the necessary equipment on the site allow for convenient engine testing. The agreement provides an option to extend the lease for another 10 years. The company aims to create 200 jobs and invest $59 million in the state. In exchange, the state of Mississippi offers a reimbursement of expenses and a tax incentive package.

image2.jpgSource: www.relativityspace.com

The new factory will produce Relativity Space’s first 3D printed rocket – Terran 1. This vehicle can carry up to 2,756 lbs. into low Earth orbit. Both stages will be powered by 3D printed Aeon engines fueled by methane and liquid oxygen. The first stage will be powered by nine engines, stage two will be equipped with only one. The rocket is priced at $10 million per launch. It is expected that due to the use of the 3D printing technology the manufacturing cycle will not exceed 60 days. 

Although the company is planning to construct its own launch facility, the first rockets will be launched from Cape Canaveral. The launchpad and all the supporting infrastructure will be provided by the U.S. Air Force. The company was allowed to use Launch Complex (LC) 16, which was built for tests of Titan I and Titan II, and then Pershing I and Pershing II missiles. The last launch took place there in 1988. 

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Source: www.relativityspace.com

Most of the metal parts will be manufactured by Stargate, Relativity Space’s first 3D printer. The scalable system features multi-axis robotic arms with lasers. The machine uses metal wire feedstock as a printing material. In February 2019, Relativity Space was granted a machine learning 3D metal printing patent, issued for “real-time adaptive control of additive manufacturing processes using machine learning” (US20180341248A1).

“This agreement demonstrates again NASA’s commitment to work with our industry partners to expand commercial access to low Earth orbit. This helps NASA maintain focus on the ambitious Artemis program that will land the first female and the next male on the south pole of the Moon by 2024,” said Rick Gilbrech, director of  Stennis Space Center. “Relativity is a valuable member of the Stennis federal city and we look forward to building on our already successful partnership.”

The first orbital launch is expected in 2020. The company is planning to enter the commercial market in 2021.

 

First living tissue 3D printed in space aboard the International Space Station

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First living tissue 3D printed in space aboard the International Space StationFirst living tissue 3D printed in space aboard the International Space Station

This is a guest post contribution by Egor Driagin, Chief Marketing Officer at Top 3D Shop.

First living tissue 3D printed in space aboard the International Space Station
This is a guest post contribution by Egor Driagin, Chief Marketing Officer at Top 3D Shop.

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The Top 3D Expo Conference which took place in Moscow on April 19 demonstrated a revolutionary bioprinter that was previously sent to the International Space Station (ISS) to manufacture living tissues and organ under zero gravity. Yusef Khesuani, the managing partner and co-founder of the 3D Bioprinting Solutions Company, presented and told many interesting facts about their brainchild.

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A 3D bioprinter named Organ.Aut was transported to the ISS on December 3, 2018, where it was used to carry out several biomedical experiments in orbit.

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Application in medicine

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Using this 3D bioprinter, Oleg Kononenko, a Russian astronaut, successfully manufactured several types of living tissue, namely, the cartilage tissue of a human and the thyroid of a mouse.

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The results of these experiments with 3D-printing were 12 biological samples which then were sent to the Russian company 3D Bioprinting Solutions, responsible for conducting further research.

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3D printing in zero gravity state empowers modern science to create tissues and organs for transplantation while helping to avoid the limitations of terrestrial gravitation and test new methods of printing complicated kinds of tissue from living cells.

In autumn 2019, it is planned to send to orbit special synthetic ceramic materials, which will be utilized to fabricate implants with the help of 3D printing technologies. Such implants will facilitate the regeneration of bone tissue in patients with serious injuries.

Application in foodstuff manufacturing

Apart from benefiting science and medicine, bioprinting can go much further and find application in food production, too. 3D Bioprinting Solutions together with foreign partners, bio-technological startups from different countries, are already working in this direction.

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They are studying the cultivation of artificial beef, blue tuna, and salmon from living cells. If these experiments succeed, in the measurable future, we will be able to produce cruelty-free, eco-friendly, technological-powered and, most important, inexpensive meat on a wholesale scale! The company received samples from its partners and now is testing them in terms of meeting technical requirements necessary for sending these samples to the ISS with a 3D printer onboard.

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Organ.Aut

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Organ.Aut is a bioprinter designed specifically to work with biological tissue (such as living cells in nutrient liquid) in space.

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This 3D bioprinter manages printing materials using magnet fields in order to form their structures, not layer by layer as is normally the case with FDM solutions, but from all the sides simultaneously.

In addition to the 3D bioprinter for space, the company also produces biological 3D printers which can be used on Earth.

FABION 2

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FABION 2 is an updated version of the company’s previous model – a basic bioprinter FABION able to print biological tissues using bio-inks and hydrogels of different consistencies and compositions. FABION 2 ensures high cell density and high level of synthesis of extracellular matrix proteins within spheroids, which provides for the creation of highly viable and fully functional tissue constructs.

At the Conference

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At the exhibition conference, visitors could see Organ.Aut and other cutting-edge equipment for 3D printing and scanning as well as listen to interesting reports from the field experts.

For instance, the head of 3D Bioprinting Solutions not only demonstrated the bioprinter and explained in simple words the principle of its work, but also gave a talk on the topic: “3D-bioprinting: its past, present, future”, under which, he speculated on the development of bioprinting in the world – how it was invented, its current situation, and prospects.