What are the prospects of 3D Printing Ceramics in the Space?

Redwire, the latest industry leader in the┬ámission-critical space systems, has performed the world’s first efficient 3D printing of a series of ceramic modules in the┬áspace. This feat was achieved by a Ceramic Manufacturing Model (CMM) in December 2020, marking a major breakthrough for ceramic development in space. In June 2020, Redwire was formed when AE Industrial Partners, a private equity group, merged two recently purchased firms, Adcole Space as well as Deep Space Systems (DSS). RedWire is ideally placed to create state-of-the-art solutions to address the greatest problems facing space flights today.

Redwire has risen as the mission-critical space solutions pioneer and is a reliable manufacturer of devices used in the next decade’s space networks. The organization delivers end-to-end strategies, seeking to facilitate the future of the space missions. Redwire reported the performance of its CMM in the 3D printing ceramics in the space through the production of a ceramic turbine bladed disk (blisk), which is single-piece, alongside a collection of general content test coupons in its new production. The pre-ceramic resin pieces refer to SLA 3D printing technology from Redwire, showing its usefulness in carrying out 3D printing onboard the ISS, which is completely autonomous.

The achievement is a groundbreaking opportunity for space-enabled technology and will open the way for potential sector advancements, potentially enabling the 3D printing of ceramic components in the space. Redwire’s project may be a crucial step towards establishing a sustainable working and living in the space. Made in Space, a market pioneer in designing in-space production and assembly technology developed Redwire’s CMM. Now in Redwire’s possession, the CMM is the very first SLA 3D printer to be effective in creating objects in the space. Redwire attempts to illustrate the multitude of advantages provided by ceramic processing in microgravity.

The Redwire team claims that, relative to components made on Earth, the CMM will create ceramics in the space, resulting in products with high strength, excellent heat resistance properties, reduced residual stresses, as well as better mechanical efficiency. The use of these strengthened components will support different systems, like combustion engines, nuclear cores, as well as generators, where even the most modest strength enhancement would result in considerably greater longevity of the component’s lifetime. The CMM is the first orbiting SLA printer ever to work and will significantly increase space-based ceramic processing performance.

Redwire has shown that a single-piece ceramic turbine blisk, as well as a series of the material test coupons, can work entirely independently using the additive stereolithography (SLA) tech to 3D print its commercially built in-space manufacturing center. Via SpaceX Dragon CRS-21 spacecraft, these modules will be sent back to Earth for study. Further analysis will ideally show the improved properties of the component.