Redwire wins NASA contract to advance in-space Additive Manufacturing

April 13, 2023

April 13, 2023

Redwire has been awarded a $5.9 million contract from NASA to complete the design of a new in-space multi-material Additive Manufacturing system (Courtesy Redwire)
Redwire has been awarded a $5.9 million contract from NASA to complete the design of a new in-space multi-material Additive Manufacturing system (Courtesy Redwire)

Redwire Corporation, Jacksonville, Florida, USA, has been awarded a $5.9 million contract from NASA to complete the design of FabLab, a new in-space multi-material Additive Manufacturing system.

FabLab is expected to be tested onboard the International Space Station (ISS) and serve as a precursor for Artemis missions to the Moon and Mars. The system will allow NASA crews in deep space to manufacture tools and components on demand using metal, plastic and ceramics, in an effort to enable a sustainable human presence on and around the Moon, Mars, and beyond.

“FabLab is a solution for some of the key logistics challenges with sustained human deep space exploration aboard the Lunar Gateway and on the Moon and Mars,” stated John Vellinger, executive vice president, Redwire. “Astronauts won’t need to pack their spacecraft with every tool or part they may need millions of miles from Earth. Make it, don’t take it.”

In 2017, Redwire was selected to prototype FabLab through NASA’s Next Space Technologies for Exploration Partnerships program. This latest contract will see the FabLab design fully matured to spaceflight-ready status. An anticipated follow-on contract will support the construction of a FabLab unit and its test aboard the ISS in low-Earth orbit (LEO).

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Testing FabLab on the ISS will be an important step toward building versions for use at destinations beyond LEO, such as NASA’s Gateway. With FabLab technology, crews on the Moon, Mars, and in deep space will be able to additively manufacture critical assets, such as tools, replacement parts, and circuit boards on demand.

“Having an integrated capability for on-demand manufacturing and repair of components and systems during space missions will be integral for sustainable exploration missions,” added Jim Reuter, associate administrator for NASA Space Technology Mission Directorate programmes. “This is a rapidly-evolving, disruptive area in which NASA wants to continue working with industry and academia to develop these technologies through collaborative mechanisms such as this one.”

Redwire’s Additive Manufacturing Facility (AMF), reputedly the first permanent commercial manufacturing platform to operate in LEO, has manufactured over 200 tools, parts, and assets onboard the ISS. AMF’s versatility and durability have made it a resource for government and commercial customers since its activation in 2016. Building on this experience, Redwire is continuing to develop new capabilities that will leverage in-space manufacturing for unprecedented applications to meet future space exploration goals.

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April 13, 2023

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