Launched March 2016, AMF is a permanent manufacturing facility on the International Space Station (ISS), providing hardware manufacturing services to both NASA and the U.S. National Laboratory onboard. Twice the size of the technology demonstration 3D printer, AMF can manufacture larger and more complex objects faster, with finer precision, and with multiple aerospace grade materials.
Under the agreement for use of AMF, Made In Space owns the manufacturing device while NASA and commercial customers use it as a service. During its time on the ISS, the AMF has manufactured a number of parts, tools, devices, and multi-part assemblies to be used on orbit and on Earth. AMF's broad potential has already been leveraged to provide medical parts, aerospace equipment, art, and STEM research to people and organizations around the world.
As the first commercially available manufacturing service in space, AMF enables an array of on-orbit manufacturing capabilities, as well as provides ample research opportunities for terrestrial and space-based 3D printing applications. AMF has supported the ongoing research of using 3D printers to provide previously unavailable medical materials to remote areas of the planet. AMF and has also provided NASA with a platform to closely evaluate how on-orbit manufacturing technology will affect the future of the space industry, and ultimately encourage a shift in how we approach building structures and craft for space.
Since terrestrial 3D printing is broadly used, we designed the AMF to be versatile in application and capability. Using several replaceable sub-assemblies, the AMF was designed as a modular device, easily upgraded to increase functionality.
Unlike most machines here on Earth, it can be difficult to service space flight hardware while it's in space. With that in mind we had a couple major reliability requirements for AMF:
- Survive the incredible forces of launch
- Operate consistently on orbit for at least the rest of the life cycle of the International Space Station
So far AMF has survived launch and has been consistently providing on orbit manufacturing services.
Because you wouldn't use the same material to manufacture a heat shield as you would to a finger splint, AMF is optimized to print in a wide variety of materials. Whether you need a robust radiation shield or an advanced microgravity support structure, AMF enables the rapid iteration and deployment of your in-space needs in a number of eco-friendly and space-grade materials.
EXPRESS Rack Dimensions
Effective integration into the technological ecosystem of the Internation Space Station is important for our hardware. Designed to operate in an EXPRESS Rack Mid-Deck Locker, once installed AMF will be out of the crew's way and easily accessible at all times.