After four years aboard the International Space Station (ISS), NASA has confirmed it's mission complete for phase I and II of the Made In Space operated “3D Printing in Zero G Technology Demonstration.”
The mission was accepted in October 2018, and the results were used to develop the space augmentation manufacturing equipment (AMF) that has been operating on the international space station since 2015. With this facility, and the early stage data, NASA confirmed it was a step toward "transforming logistics for long-term space exploration" and improving crew safety for long-term space missions.
The effect of Zero G on 3D printing
The goal of the first and second phases of NASA's mission is to provide a proof of concept for space 3D printing.To do that, NASA researchers must determine whether low-gravity conditions have any effect on print quality, and whether there is any difference between simulated "zero gravity" 3D printing and real objects on the international space station.
Moving to "truly earth-independent exploration initiatives"
The research is part of NASA's broader space manufacturing (ISM) program.According to the details of the study, NASA has provided substantial development funding to companies seeking to move the ISM program to the next phase.