The National Space Society (NSS) program Enterprise in Space (EIS), are calling for university teams to send in their visions of interplanetary transport, construction, and habitats for the opportunity to have them fabricated in space. The competition is called Print the Future (PTF) and is a collaboration with four other partners, one of which is space manufacturing giants Made In Space who will be sending the first commercial 3D printer to the International Space Station (ISS) in 2017.
“An essential technology to extending humanity’s reach in space is in-space manufacturing. By manufacturing new designs in space, we’ll be able to forgo the high cost of shipping supplies by rocket and instead fabricate them directly in microgravity” says Made In Space Co-Founder and Chief Engineer Michael Snyder.
Other partners include online 3D print community Sketchfab, who will be hosting the designs; 3D Hubs printing marketplace, who will make prototypes for the finalists; and Prairie Nanotechnology a company devoted to supporting the development of nanotechnologies in businesses and education.
There are four tiers to the Print the Future prize list, offering exposure and exclusive access to partnering institutions at a minimum, and graduating to the grand prize awarding three scholarships from the Kepler Space Institute to the winning team, and getting their designs produced on board the International Space Station.
“We’ve all seen those exciting sci-fi films in which the human species has colonized the galaxy and is exploring space in order to answer life’s deepest questions,” said NSS President and EIS Program Manager Alice Hoffman. “But if we’re ever going to be able to pull that off, we still have to develop the NewSpace technologies that will make interplanetary travel and colonization possible. And we’ll need to train the next generation to drive those technologies even further.”
Print the Future opens on Wednesday 12th October 2016, and online entries close on 15th February 2017. Enter here.