We all are familiar with 3D printing. But what if we tell you that a satellite can do a similar thing in space? How supercool would be that! To solve this mystery, a company named Made In Space is building a highly advanced project, Archinaut 1, a satellite that can 3D print itself in space. The name of the project is On-Orbit Servicing Assembly Manufacturing 2 (OSAM 2). The Archinaut 1 satellite will be designed using 2 main subsystems, an additive manufacturing extended structure machine responsible for building long booms, and a robotic arm, responsible for assembling things on space trap. These things are tested in a special northrop grumman facility, creating a simulated space environment. After launching, Archinaut 1 will proceed into low earth orbit, 3D print two 10 metre long beams on either side of the spacecraft.
These will be assisted by robotic arm and in-situ verification technology. After that, the solar panels will unfurl, to generate power, generating 5 times more power than regular solar panels. The aim is to illustrate in-space robotic manufacturing and assembly on operational mission.
A satellite usually comprises a heavy structure, designed to survive first few minutes of gravitation. Archinaut 1 will help in fabricating this entire structure onto an orbit. It can be beneficial in an enormous amout of ways including reducing the need of heavy payloads for various space missions, helping astronauts to print their own tools. It can be useful for long distance missions which like exploring the solar system. Made In Space is also taking care that Archinaut 1 can repair and build upon existing structures, reducing the need for astronauts spacewalks.