MOSCOW (Sputnik) — Russia's SPUTNIX satellite component manufacturer company plans to send a 3D printer to the International Space Station (ISS) to enable its crew to assemble microsatellites in orbit, the company's project manager Veronika Steinhardt said Friday.
"We want to send a 3D printer and we want to learn how to quickly assemble satellites from standardized components on request," Steinhardt, who manages the ISS 3D printing project, told reporters at the InSpace Forum 2017 in Moscow.
The ISS crew has already experimented with 3D printing. The station's first 3D printer, which works with plastic, completed its first object in 2015. The printed samples have been sent back to earth for analysis and comparison with the physical properties of similar objects printed on earth. Printing in space has important implications for future long-haul space travel.