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Space-Based Additive Manufacturing of Space Hardware

View the report: 3D Printing in Space

Statement of Task

The National Research Council will appoint an ad hoc committee to explore the implications of space-based additive manufacturing technologies for space operations and the manufacture of space hardware. In conducting the study and preparing its report the committee will:

  • Assess the current state of additive manufacturing in the United States and worldwide (especially in the aerospace industries, universities, and national laboratories engaged in the design and manufacture of small satellites or respective subassemblies);
  • Characterize the future states envisioned by the aerospace industries, universities, and national laboratories with respect to additive manufacturing and aerospace systems;
  • Discuss the feasibility of the concept of space-based additive manufacturing of space hardware (including, but not limited to, a fully functional small spacecraft) that can conduct or enable missions of relevance to NASA, the Air Force, and/or the national security space communities;
  • Identify the science and technology gaps between current additive manufacturing capabilities and the capabilities required to enable a space-based additive manufacturing
    concept, including those gaps that current trends indicate may be closed with commercial investments in additive manufacturing and those gaps that are likely to require
    dedicated investments by the federal government.
  • Assess the implications that a space-based additive manufacturing capability would have on launch requirements (e.g., launching raw materials versus fully assembled
    spacecraft); overall satellite and payload designs; and in-space operations, such as possible reductions in mass and their implications for activities such as

The committee may also consider the following:

  • The potential mission payloads and capabilities that could be expected from a space-based, additively manufactured spacecraft;
  • The role in potential missions for a single spacecraft system manufactured in space by additive manufacturing or for multiple spacecraft systems, including disaggregatedconstellations and fractionated satellites;
  • Concepts of operations for space-based manufacture of space hardware (including small spacecraft) using additive manufacturing, including development, test and evaluation,launch, deployment, and on-orbit command and control;
  •  Whether it is possible to develop a high-level heuristic tool that Air Force Space Command and other government organizations could use for first-order assessments of space-
    based, additively manufactured small spacecraft concepts in their integrated planning and process efforts.

This project is being sponsored by: United States Air Force and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
The approximate starting date for the project is 07/09/2013
Final Report will be issued at the end of the project in approximately 18 months.

 View more about this activity on our current projects site.

Committee Meetings

April 17-18, 2014
Irvine, CA

February 5-7, 2014
Washington, DC

November 12-14, 2013
Irvine, CA

View presentations

August 20-22, 2013
Washington, DC 

View presentations

Committee Members

View Committee Bios

Dr. Robert H. Latiff, Chair
R. Latiff Associates

Dr. Sandra H. Magnus
American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics

Dr. Peter Banks
Red Planet Capital Partners

Mr. Thomas E. Maultsby
Rubicon, LLC

Dr. Andrew Bicos
The Boeing Company

Mr. Michael T. McGrath
University of Colorado, Boulder

Dr. Elizabeth Cantwell
Lawrence Livermore National Lab

Dr. Lyle H. Schwartz
Portland State University

Dr. Ravi Deo

Dr. Ryan Wicker
University of Texas, El Paso

Mr. John W. Hines
Independent Consultant

Dr. Paul K. Wright
University of California, Berkeley
Dr. Bhavya Lal
IDA Science and Technology Policy Institute



Dr. Dwayne Day
Study Director

Ms. Andrea Rebholz
Program Associate

Dr. Michael Moloney
Director, ASEB & SSB



We we have posted only those slides made availbale to us by the presenters.


August 2013

Rex Kiziah
James Bredt


November 2013

Slade Gardener
Mike Gazarik
LeNetra Tate
Robert Hoyt