“We are about to witness a product development revolution for space, and the obvious first step will be through 3D-printing,” said Barton Bollfrass, CEO of Solid Prototype. “We are thrilled to be providing Deep Space Industries with the prototypes needed for its CubeSat projects.”
Deep Space Industries has big plans for space exploration. In 2015, the company plans to launch a prospecting spacecraft fleet, and to begin the process of harvesting metals and water from near-Earth asteroids before 2025. The company’s vision is self-sustainability in outer space, making it possible to build and refuel spacecraft far above our planet’s surface. This brings us one step closer to our engagement with the final frontier, something we mostly still dream about.
Growing up in the 70’s included a lot of talk about the future. As children, we already knew that we would be alive to watch the 21st century arrive, and we talked about what we thought was going to change. Shows like ‘The Jetsons” made living in space seem accessible, but it’s companies like Deep Space Industries that are truly preparing space to be inhabited — and explored — by human life. Deep Space Industries’ announcement of a new strategic partnership with Austin, Texas-based Solid Prototype 3D printing services, reveals how interconnected 3D printing is with the companies that will make the future look like it’s already arrived.
It’s no surprise that Deep Space Industries has chosen Solid Prototype to partner with. Solid Prototype was North America’s first standalone 3D printing service, and since it was established in 2011, it now serves many Fortune 500 companies that rely on 3D printing technology.
“Solid Prototype’s technology services will enable Deep Space Industries to achieve the rapid turnaround and fast iteration that is crucial to bringing down the cost of space exploration,” said DSI Vice Chair, David Gump. “We are intending, over time, to see how much of the contents of our spacecraft can become integrated with the structure, thereby reducing the mass required to reach a desired structural strength.”
While space exploration is always an enchanting childhood concept, as most of us age, we begin to ask probing questions. Why do we spend so much time exploring space when there is such an abundance of life on Earth? Why do we spend so much money on space sciences, when we have people here who are starving and species that need protection? In fact, it is the cost itself of space research and exploration that seems to be the most prohibitive aspect on the whole enterprise — and Deep Space Industries hopes that 3D printing, especially Solid Prototype’s 3D printing services, will help change that.
The partnership between DSi and Solid Prototype is a strategic way for the companies to leverage one another’s expertise. Using Solid Prototype’s 3D printing know-how, this partnership is striving to take a whole new look at the design of spacecraft. 3D printing should enable faster turnaround times to examine designs that are able to be created at lower costs. These prototypes are intended to lower spacecraft structural mass, which can help to reduce overall costs throughout the production chain and eventual launches and space exploration missions.
“The ability to solve intricate design and manufacturing programs is an important component of our business success,” said Deep Space Industries CEO Daniel Faber. “The partnership with Solid Prototype will help provide the resources and innovation that we need to further our corporate vision.”
Who can argue with designing space projects to reduce cost, grow more efficient, and streamline structures — eliminating cost and waste? The whole idea certainly makes sense, and it’s no surprise 3D printing is at the helm of this important next step. While DSi offers a futuristic vision quite different from “The Jetsons” of our childhoods (see video below from DSi), its 3D printing plans solidifies its overall mission of self-sustainability in space. With the company’s timeline, it looks like information will be forthcoming sooner than later, that is if Solid Prototype’s 3D printing can help it. Let’s hear your thoughts on Deep Space’s 3D printing ambitions in the 3D Printing & Space Exploration forum thread on 3DPB.com.