Build Among the Stars

Image Credit: NASA

There is a word uttered often in the halls and labs and bullpen of Made In Space. In fact, there are many, but I don’t mean CAD or extruder or payload or what time are we ordering dinner?

I mean interplanetary.

Each one of us passes a statement on the wall as we walk in: building the tools for an interplanetary reality. So even as we get in the weeds of mechanical design or material analysis, we are guided by a grand challenge to consider and build for the realities of living and working in environments beyond the terrestrial.

Grand Vision, Incremental Progress

The challenges of an interplanetary reality for humans are myriad, but most of our immediate work is on how manufacturing can be done in microgravity. You might have heard about when we sent the first experimental 3D printer into space. Two years later, we’re launching the first commercial 3D printer into space. We’re incredibly lucky to play a small part in what we think will be a complex ecosystem of technologies that enable life and work in the space environment. We have been fortunate to collaborate with Marshall Space Flight Center’s In-Space Manufacturing Group in their mission to empower the development of this ecosystem, and we look forward to being a part of the emerging in-space manufacturing industry.

Like most space missions, the team for AMF designed a mission patch. We want to take the chance to tell you a bit more about it (pictured above).

LEO, Moon, Mars, and a Star

Made In Space is developing manufacturing technologies that are enabling people to live and work in space. Today we are deploying the Additive Manufacturing Facility to the ISS. This is a first step toward putting manufacturing systems on the Moon, Mars, and on deep space missions.

The Binary Code

The binary on the patch stretching between Earth and the ISS represents our ability to digitally send objects to space.

Two Stars on Land

The two stars that appear on the silhouette of the United States represent Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, a critical collaborator of developing in the development of in-space manufacting technologies. The other star represents our office at NASA Research Park in Moffett Field, California.

The Atlas V Rocket Plume

AMF is launching on an Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida. Its green and blue plume matches the colors of CASIS, operators of the ISS National Lab. CASIS provided the launch upmass and is our operational sponsor on ISS.

The Border Text

Lowe’s Innovation Labs is a critical partner on this launch. We are collaborating on space-optimized tool development. This arguably makes AMF the first hardware store in space!


The road to interplanetary life will be long and filled with interesting challenges. We’re humbled to be able to work every day on such a meaningful mission and we’re excited to be part of the forward march of progress.

Acknowledgements

Made In Space would like to publicly and enthusiastically thank the following people and organizations, without whom AMF would be still a dream: NASA Marshall Space Flight Center In Space Manufacturing Group for being an incredible collaborator and moving the mission forward. CASIS for making the flight possible. NASA Advanced Exploration Systems for supporting the development and work required to get here. Autodesk for being a consistent MIS supporter and supplying technology upon which AMF was designed, as well as providing Memento, which is built into AMF. Braskem for being our materials provider with Green HDPE, a high density polyethylene made from sugar cane. Lowe’s Innovation Labs for working with unexpected partners like us to do things people only dream about.

And a special thank you to the space, science, engineering and technology communities that have followed along and engaged with us over the past five years of experimentation and development. Here’s to our future in space 🚀

I’m spencer pitman, head of product strategy at Made In Space. I’m into rockets, ecological modes, bikes, skis, cams, ice tools and public transit systems. I like meeting new folks so feel free to reach out.