Tethers Unlimited’s Refabricator is a recycler and 3-D printer in one unit, which is about the size of a dorm-room refrigerator. This is the tech demonstration unit that’s been undergoing tests at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. The unit is to go to the space station next year. (NASA Photo / Emmett Given)
Bothell, Wash.-based Tethers Unlimited is getting a shot at helping to create an advanced fabrication facility that could manufacture and recycle 3-D printed items in space.
Tethers Unlimited and two other companies will have 18 months to deliver a prototype for the multi-material fabrication lab, or FabLab. The other companies are Interlog Corp. of Anaheim, Calif.; and Techshot of Greenville, Ind.
About $10.2 million has been set aside for the prototyping phase of the project. After the prototype is delivered, NASA will select partners for further development of the technology.
“Our team here is very excited to have the opportunity to continue our collaboration with NASA’s In-Space Manufacturing Program to advance the manufacturing and recycling technologies our astronauts will need for deep-space missions,” Tethers Unlimited CEO Robert Hoyt told GeekWire in an email.
The FabLab initiative is part of a NASA program known as Next ...