National Academies Press: OpenBook

3D Printing in Space (2014)

Chapter: Front Matter

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. 3D Printing in Space. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18871.
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3D PRINTING IN SPACE

Committee on Space-Based Additive Manufacturing

Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board

National Materials and Manufacturing Board

Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences

NATIONAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
                         OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS

Washington, D.C.

www.nap.edu

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. 3D Printing in Space. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18871.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES PRESS   500 Fifth Street, NW   Washington, DC 20001

NOTICE: The project that is the subject of this report was approved by the Governing Board of the National Research Council, whose members are drawn from the councils of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institute of Medicine. The members of the committee responsible for the report were chosen for their special competences and with regard for appropriate balance.

This report is based on work supported by Contract NNH10CD04B (Task Order 7) between the National Academy of Sciences and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and Grant FA9453-11-3-0001 between the National Academy of Sciences and the United States Air Force. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the agencies that provided support for the project.

International Standard Book Number-13: 978-0-309-31008-6
International Standard Book Number-10: 0-309-31008-3

Cover: Design by Tim Warchocki.

Copies of this report are available free of charge from

Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board
National Research Council
The Keck Center of the National Academies
500 Fifth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20001

Additional copies of this report are available from the National Academies Press, 500 Fifth Street, NW, Keck 360, Washington, DC 20001; (800) 624-6242 or (202) 334-3313; http://www.nap.edu.

Copyright 2014 by the National Academy of Sciences. All rights reserved.

Printed in the United States of America

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. 3D Printing in Space. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18871.
×

THE NATIONAL ACADEMIES

Advisers to the Nation on Science, Engineering, and Medicine

The National Academy of Sciences is a private, nonprofit, self-perpetuating society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furtherance of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Upon the authority of the charter granted to it by the Congress in 1863, the Academy has a mandate that requires it to advise the federal government on scientific and technical matters. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone is president of the National Academy of Sciences.

The National Academy of Engineering was established in 1964, under the charter of the National Academy of Sciences, as a parallel organization of outstanding engineers. It is autonomous in its administration and in the selection of its members, sharing with the National Academy of Sciences the responsibility for advising the federal government. The National Academy of Engineering also sponsors engineering programs aimed at meeting national needs, encourages education and research, and recognizes the superior achievements of engineers. Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., is president of the National Academy of Engineering.

The Institute of Medicine was established in 1970 by the National Academy of Sciences to secure the services of eminent members of appropriate professions in the examination of policy matters pertaining to the health of the public. The Institute acts under the responsibility given to the National Academy of Sciences by its congressional charter to be an adviser to the federal government and, upon its own initiative, to identify issues of medical care, research, and education. Dr. Victor J. Dzau is president of the Institute of Medicine.

The National Research Council was organized by the National Academy of Sciences in 1916 to associate the broad community of science and technology with the Academy’s purposes of furthering knowledge and advising the federal government. Functioning in accordance with general policies determined by the Academy, the Council has become the principal operating agency of both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering in providing services to the government, the public, and the scientific and engineering communities. The Council is administered jointly by both Academies and the Institute of Medicine. Dr. Ralph J. Cicerone and Dr. C. D. Mote, Jr., are chair and vice chair, respectively, of the National Research Council.

www.nationalacademies.org

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. 3D Printing in Space. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18871.
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OTHER REPORTS OF THE AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD

Autonomy Research for Civil Aviation: Toward a New Era of Flight (Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board [ASEB], 2014)

Pathways to Exploration: Rationales and Approaches for a U.S. Program of Human Space Exploration (ASEB with Space Studies Board [SSB], 2014)

Solar and Space Physics: A Science for a Technological Society (SSB with ASEB, 2013)

Continuing Kepler’s Quest: Assessing Air Force Space Command’s Astrodynamics Standards (ASEB, 2012)

NASA Space Technology Roadmaps and Priorities: Restoring NASA’s Technological Edge and Paving the Way for a New Era in Space (ASEB, 2012)

NASA’s Strategic Direction and the Need for a National Consensus (Division on Engineering and Physical Sciences, 2012)

Recapturing NASA’s Aeronautics Flight Research Capabilities (ASEB, 2012)

Reusable Booster System: Review and Assessment (ASEB, 2012)

Limiting Future Collision Risk to Spacecraft: An Assessment of NASA’s Meteroid and Orbital Debris Programs (ASEB, 2011)

Preparing for the High Frontier—The Role and Training of NASA Astronauts in the Post-Space Shuttle Era (ASEB, 2011)

Recapturing a Future for Space Exploration: Life and Physical Sciences Research for a New Era (SSB and ASEB, 2011)

Advancing Aeronautical Safety: A Review of NASA’s Aviation Safety-Related Research Programs (ASEB, 2010)

Capabilities for the Future: An Assessment of NASA Laboratories for Basic Research (Laboratory Assessments Board with SSB and ASEB, 2010)

Defending Planet Earth: Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies (SSB with ASEB, 2010)

Forging the Future of Space Science: The Next 50 Years: An International Public Seminar Series Organized by the Space Studies Board: Selected Lectures (SSB with ASEB, 2010)

America’s Future in Space: Aligning the Civil Space Program with National Needs (SSB with ASEB, 2009)

Approaches to Future Space Cooperation and Competition in a Globalizing World: Summary of a Workshop (SSB with ASEB, 2009)

An Assessment of NASA’s National Aviation Operations Monitoring Service (ASEB, 2009)

Fostering Visions for the Future: A Review of the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts (ASEB, 2009)

Near-Earth Object Surveys and Hazard Mitigation Strategies: Interim Report (SSB with ASEB, 2009)

Radioisotope Power Systems: An Imperative for Maintaining U.S. Leadership in Space Exploration (SSB with ASEB, 2009)

Limited copies of ASEB reports are available free of charge from

Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board
National Research Council
The Keck Center of the National Academies
500 Fifth Street, NW, Washington, DC 20001
(202) 334-2858/aseb@nas.edu
www.nationalacademies.org/aseb

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. 3D Printing in Space. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18871.
×

COMMITTEE ON SPACE-BASED ADDITIVE MANUFACTURING

ROBERT H. LATIFF, R. Latiff Associates, Chair

ELIZABETH R. CANTWELL, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Vice Chair

PETER M. BANKS, Red Planet Capital Partners

ANDREW S. BICOS, The Boeing Company

RAVI B. DEO, EMBR

JOHN W. HINES, Senior Technology Advisor, Independent Consultant

BHAVYA LAL, IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute

SANDRA H. MAGNUS, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

THOMAS E. MAULTSBY, Rubicon, LLC

MICHAEL T. McGRATH, University of Colorado, Boulder

LYLE H. SCHWARTZ, Air Force Office of Scientific Research (Retired)

IVAN E. SUTHERLAND, Portland State University

RYAN WICKER, University of Texas, El Paso

PAUL K. WRIGHT, Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute, University of California, Berkeley

Staff

DWAYNE A. DAY, Senior Program Officer, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board

ERIK B. SVEDBERG, Senior Program Officer, National Materials and Manufacturing Board

ANDREA REBHOLZ, Program Associate, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board

MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director, Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board and Space Studies Board

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. 3D Printing in Space. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18871.
×

AERONAUTICS AND SPACE ENGINEERING BOARD

LESTER LYLES, The Lyles Group, Chair

PATRICIA GRACE SMITH, Patti Grace Smith Consulting, LLC, Vice Chair

ARNOLD D. ALDRICH, Aerospace Consultant, Vienna, Virginia

ELLA M. ATKINS, University of Michigan

STEVEN J. BATTEL, Battel Engineering

BRIAN J. CANTWELL, Stanford University

ELIZABETH R. CANTWELL, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

EILEEN M. COLLINS, Space Presentations, LLC

RAVI B. DEO, EMBR

VIJAY K. DHIR, University of California, Los Angeles

EARL H. DOWELL, Duke University

ALAN H. EPSTEIN, Pratt & Whitney

KAREN FEIGH, Georgia Institute of Technology

PERETZ P. FRIEDMANN, University of Michigan

MARK J. LEWIS, IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute

JOHN M. OLSON, Sierra Nevada Corporation

HELEN L. REED, Texas A&M University

AGAM N. SINHA, ANS Aviation International, LLC

JOHN P. STENBIT, Consultant, Oakton, Virginia

ALAN M. TITLE, Lockheed Martin Advanced Technology Center

DAVID M. VAN WIE, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory

MICHAEL H. MOLONEY, Director

CARMELA J. CHAMBERLAIN, Administrative Coordinator

TANJA PILZAK, Manager, Program Operations

CELESTE A. NAYLOR, Information Management Associate

CHRISTINA O. SHIPMAN, Financial Officer

MEG A. KNEMEYER, Financial Officer

SANDRA WILSON, Financial Assistant

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. 3D Printing in Space. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18871.
×

NATIONAL MATERIALS AND MANUFACTURING BOARD

ROBERT E. SCHAFRIK, GE Aviation (retired), Chair

MICHAEL BASKES (NAE), Mississippi State University

LAWRENCE D. BURNS, University of Michigan

JIM C.I. CHANG, National Cheng Kung University

JENNIE S. HWANG, H-Technologies Group

SANDRA L. HYLAND, BAE Systems (retired)

SUNDARESAN JAYARAMAN, Georgia Institute of Technology

ROBERT H. LATIFF, R. Latiff Associates

MICHAEL F. McGRATH, Analytic Services, Inc.

CELIA MERZBACHER, Semiconductor Research Corporation

EDWARD MORRIS, National Center for Defense Manufacturing and Machining

VINCENT J. RUSSO, Aerospace Technologies Associates, LLC

GREG TASSEY, University of Washington

HAYDN WADLEY, University of Virginia

BEN WANG, Georgia Tech Manufacturing Institute

Staff

JAMES LANCASTER, Acting Director

ERIK B. SVEDBERG, Senior Program Officer

HEATHER LOZOWSKI, Financial Associate

JOSEPH PALMER, Senior Project Assistant

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Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. 3D Printing in Space. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18871.
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Preface

Additive manufacturing, often referred to as “3D printing,” has attracted significant attention recently, including discussion of its applications to spaceflight. NASA, the Air Force Space Command, and the Air Force Research Laboratory asked the National Research Council (NRC) to conduct a study of the prospects for the use of additive manufacturing in space. In response, the NRC established the Committee on Space-Based Additive Manufacturing. The committee’s statement of task required it to

  • 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 maneuverability.

The first two tasks are respectively addressed in Chapters 1 and 2 of this report. The remaining three are addressed in Chapter 3. Rather than arrange the chapters according to the statement of task, the committee devotes Chapter 4 to NASA issues and Chapter 5 to Air Force issues, while noting that both the Air Force and NASA can benefit from coordinating their efforts in developing this technology. Particularly in Chapter 3 the committee identified many of the challenges that have to be overcome and the issues that have to be taken into consideration in order to use the technology in space. The committee noted that although commercial investment in ground-based additive manufacturing for aerospace use is extensive, the conservatism of the aerospace industry and the high costs and unclear value of in-space additive manufacturing means that the government will have to take the

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. 3D Printing in Space. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18871.
×

lead in developing this technology. In addition, because the application of this technology to in-space use is so new (as of the writing of this report, the first in-space additive manufacturing experiments were planned by the end of 2014), it is difficult to draw firm conclusions about how the technology may impact issues such as launch requirements. As the committee notes in several places (for example, Chapter 2), a benefit of this technology may not be to reduce launch mass but to enable new capabilities (i.e., satellite and payload designs).

The statement of task also stated that 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.

Possible future applications of the technology are particularly addressed in Chapter 2. The committee notes that the value of this technology will be demonstrated in the nearer term at the component level rather than the manufacture of entire spacecraft. In Chapters 4 and 5, it recommends that as the technology develops, NASA and the Air Force both apply cost-benefit analysis to the technology but also recognize that new capabilities (i.e., the benefits) should not be ignored.

Suggested Citation:"Front Matter." National Research Council. 2014. 3D Printing in Space. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/18871.
×

Acknowledgment of Reviewers

This report has been reviewed in draft form by individuals chosen for their diverse perspectives and technical expertise, in accordance with procedures approved by the National Research Council’s (NRC’s) Report Review Committee. The purpose of this independent review is to provide candid and critical comments that will assist the institution in making its published report as sound as possible and to ensure that the report meets institutional standards for objectivity, evidence, and responsiveness to the study charge. The review comments and draft manuscript remain confidential to protect the integrity of the deliberative process. We wish to thank the following individuals for their review of this report:

James B. Armor, ATK, Spacecraft System & Services,

Joseph J. Beaman, University of Texas, Austin,

Mary Anne Fox, University of California, San Diego,

Sven Grahn, Swedish Space Corporation (retired),

Douglas C. Hofmann, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory/California Institute of Technology,

Kevin Jurrens, National Institute of Standards and Technology,

Eric MacDonald, University of Texas, El Paso,

Ted Nye, California State University, and

Christopher M. Spadaccini, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.

Although the reviewers listed above have provided many constructive comments and suggestions, they were not asked to endorse the conclusions or recommendations, nor did they see the final draft of the report before its release. The review of this report was overseen by Mark C. Hersam, Northwestern University. Appointed by the NRC, he was responsible for making certain that an independent examination of this report was carried out in accordance with institutional procedures and that all review comments were carefully considered. Responsibility for the final content of this report rests entirely with the authoring committee and the institution.

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Additive manufacturing has the potential to positively affect human spaceflight operations by enabling the in-orbit manufacture of replacement parts and tools, which could reduce existing logistics requirements for the International Space Station and future long-duration human space missions. The benefits of in-space additive manufacturing for robotic spacecraft are far less clear, although this rapidly advancing technology can also potentially enable space-based construction of large structures and, perhaps someday, substantially in the future, entire spacecraft. Additive manufacturing can also help to reimagine a new space architecture that is not constrained by the design and manufacturing confines of gravity, current manufacturing processes, and launch-related structural stresses.

The specific benefits and potential scope of additive manufacturing remain undetermined. The realities of what can be accomplished today, using this technology on the ground, demonstrate the substantial gaps between the vision for additive manufacturing in space and the limitations of the technology and the progress that has to be made to develop it for space use.

3D Printing in Space evaluates the prospects of in-space additive manufacturing. This report examines the various technologies available and currently in development, and considers the possible impacts for crewed space operations and robotic spacecraft operations. Ground-based additive manufacturing is being rapidly developed by industry, and 3D Printing in Space discusses government-industry investments in technology development. According to this report, the International Space Station provides an excellent opportunity for both civilian and military research on additive manufacturing technology. Additive manufacturing presents potential opportunities, both as a tool in a broad toolkit of options for space-based activities and as a potential paradigm-changing approach to designing hardware for in-space activities. This report makes recommendations for future research, suggests objectives for an additive manufacturing roadmap, and envisions opportunities for cooperation and joint development.

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