Enterprise In Space (EIS), a non-profit program of the National Space Society (NSS), and the Kepler Space Institute have partnered with Made In Space (MIS), Sketchfab, 3D Hubs, and Prairie Nanotechnology to launch the “Print the Future” competition. In order to drive innovation forward in space manufacturing technology, EIS and its partners are offering university teams a chance to 3D print a NewSpace experiment aboard the International Space Station (ISS).
MIS has made history by installing two 3D printers aboard the ISS, including the Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF), the first commercial 3D printer in space. As humanity expands its exploration of the cosmos, 3D printing in microgravity will be a key NewSpace technology for manufacturing goods away from Earth.
“An essential technology to extending humanity’s reach in space is in-space manufacturing,” said NSS Director and Made In Space Co-Founder and Chief Engineer Michael Snyder. “By manufacturing new designs in space, we’ll be able to forgo the high cost of shipping supplies by rocket and instead fabricate them directly in microgravity.”
For the Print the Future competition, university teams are encouraged to push the bounds of 3D printing in microgravity to craft new designs that will serve humanity in expanding its presence among the stars. Designs should meet the requirements of the AMF aboard the ISS and demonstrate concepts that can aid the human species in interplanetary transport, construction, and habitation.
All entries will be submitted and displayed on the popular 3D modeling community Sketchfab. While finalists will have their projects prototyped free of charge through 3D Hubs, a network of 3D printing services, all contestants are encouraged to iterate designs via 3D Hubs, as well.
The grand prize winner will work with MIS to 3D print their project on Earth before printing aboard the ISS. The project will be returned to Earth, where the winner will be able to leverage Prairie Nanotechnology’s advanced research equipment to study the results. Three members of the grand prize team will also receive scholarships, R.S. Kirby Memorial Scholarships, valued at $5,000 each at the Kepler Space Institute to be applied towards a full certificate program. The R.S. Kirby Memorial Scholarships aim to encourage Space Advocates the world over and to develop technologies, laws, philosophies, and a moral and societal framework to aid the global community in extending life through our solar system and beyond.
“We’ve all seen those exciting sci-fi films in which the human species has colonized the galaxy and is exploring space in order to answer life’s deepest questions,” said NSS President and EIS Program Manager Alice Hoffman. “But if we’re ever going to be able to pull that off, we still have to develop the NewSpace technologies that will make interplanetary travel and colonization possible. And we’ll need to train the next generation to drive those technologies even further.”
To learn more about the Print the Future competition or to enter, visit the contest page at enterpriseinspace.org/print-the-future and become a part of NewSpace history.
About Enterprise In Space
The National Space Society’s Enterprise In Space (EIS) is the world’s first NewSpace education program. EIS is dedicated to providing access to STEAM education to all through the open online EIS Academy and with the help of an artificial intelligence tutor named Ali. The program’s first Academy-wide project is the design, launch, and retrieval of a 3D-printed spacecraft carrying 100+ active and passive experiments from K-postgrad student teams from all around the world.
About Made In Space
Founded in 2010 as the world’s first space manufacturing company, Made In Space, Inc. (MIS) has become a world leader in utilizing 3D printing for aerospace applications. In 2014, a NASA/Made In Space team sent the world’s first 3D printer to the International Space Station (ISS). In partnership with CASIS, managers of the ISS National Lab, and Lowe’s Innovation Labs, the disruptive technology hub of the Lowe’s Home Improvement chain, Made In Space will be sending the first commercial 3D printer to the ISS next year. Additionally, the firm was recently awarded a NASA contract to 3D print and assemble structures in space itself.
About Kepler Space Institute
Kepler Space Institute (KSI) is dedicated to providing educational programs, research solutions, and publications to the public, industry, and governmental organizations in support of continuing Space Exploration, Commercialization, and Colonization. Through cutting edge research, exploration and development of space resources, KSI helps facilitate the expansion of human civilization from Earth into Space, with the primary goal of benefitting humans everywhere on Earth and beyond.
Enter new dimensions. With a community of over half a million creators contributing over a million scenes, we are the world’s largest platform to publish, share and discover 3D content online and in VR. Our technology integrates with every major 3D creation tool and publishing platform and supports almost every 3D format directly through our site or using one of our official exporters. Using our universal 3D & VR player, your creations can be embedded on any web page and every major network including Facebook, Tumblr, LinkedIn, WordPress, Bēhance, DeviantArt and Kickstarter. With offices in NYC and Paris, Sketchfab is proud to be the official 3D publishing partner of Adobe Photoshop, Facebook, Microsoft Hololens, Intel RealSense and more. Sketchfab is a venture backed company, alumnus of the TechStars accelerator program (New York Spring 2013) and winner of several start up awards.
About 3D Hubs
3D Hubs is the world’s largest online marketplace for 3D printing services. With service providers connected in over 160 countries 3D Hubs makes it easy for product designers and engineers to find the right 3D print solution for prototyping and small production runs. By providing local access to cutting-edge 3D printing technologies 3D Hubs is accelerating a future of distributed on-demand manufacturing. Founded in 2013, 3D Hubs is headquartered in Amsterdam. For more information visit www.3dhubs.com.
About Prairie Nanotechnology
Prairie Nanotechnology is devoted to supporting industrial (and academic) research and development, quality control, process development, and anything requiring materials characterization. The company’s principal scientists collectively have over 100 years of experience with materials analysis and characterization and nanotechnology development.
About the National Space Society
NSS is an independent nonprofit educational membership organization dedicated to the creation of a spacefaring civilization. NSS is widely acknowledged as the preeminent citizen’s voice on space, with over 50 chapters in the United States and around the world. The Society publishes Ad Astra magazine, an award-winning periodical chronicling the most important developments in space. To learn more, visit www.nss.org.