ISLAND WALLOPS: the first 3D printer of the International Space Station with its own recycling machine goes to the orbital laboratory aboard a Northrop Grumman spacecraft.
The Cygnus spacecraft was launched early Saturday morning aboard an Antares rocket, with 7,400 pounds of supplies to help dozens of research and research projects carried out at the space station, NASA said in a press release. .
The load includes the first all-in-one 3D printer and recycler from the space station, known as the "Remanufacturer," NASA said. You can take plastic materials and antique pieces printed in 3D on the space station and recycle them into a new "ink" of 3D printer that will allow astronauts to make new tools in space.
The technology will also "greatly reduce the need to continually launch large supplies of new materials and parts for repairs and maintenance," NASA said. That, in turn, should reduce the replenishment cost of the space station.
The first 3D printed object manufactured in space was made in 2014, NASA said.
The spacecraft was launched from NASA's Wallops flight facility on the east coast of Virginia, and is expected to arrive at the ISS and dock at 5:20 a.m. Monday, said NASA.
The ship Cygnus was named the SS John Young, in honor of the oldest astronaut of NASA, according to Northrop Grumman. Young was the commander of NASA's first shuttle mission and has been recognized as a pioneer in human spaceflight. He died in January.
This is the tenth cargo refueling mission for Northrop Grumman, a major national security contractor for the United States, the company said.