3D4Space – Additive manufacturing technologies for innovative space travel
3D4Space (www.3d4space.eu) is an alliance of TU Braunschweig, Ostfalia University of Applied Sciences and the Braunschweig University of Art. The alliance is leaded by the Institute of Space Systems from TU Braunschweig. The goal of the three universities in Braunschweig, Germany is to shape future explorations of space by developing new interdisciplinary space exploration technology. Our alliance is supported by the state of Lower Saxony and the European Union.
Current space research is conducted by several nations at the international space station ISS. But as the time of the ISS is going to end, new stations on celestial bodies like Moon or Mars are under planning. NASA, ESA and other space agencies develop “The Gateway”, a space station to orbit the Moon high above the poles in support of crew visits and science experiments.. In order to achieve a resistant presence of humans in space, new carrier rocket systems as well as technologies that enable the use of local resources and the recycling of available materials become necessary. Materials that are available can be space trash or the elements that form the celestial bodies. The goal of 3D4Space is to find, research and test those new technologies.
The use of additive manufacturing (3D-printing) enables the creation of tools and replacement parts from locally existing materials. Furthermore, big structures such as habitats can be built with additive manufacturing. 3D4Space is focusing on the use of such technologies to create and run a manned station on Moon. The basics fields of research therefore consist of
- the development of autonomous and robust robotic systems,
- material conditioning for the processing of mineral material and polymers in space,
- the development of smart polymers for space applications,
- the processing of mineral material in space,
- the development of new recycling technologies of highly filled polymer composites,
- the exploration of space and the future of society as well as
- the testing of prototypes and technologies.
At IRAS, a mobile robotic construction platform named MIRA3D is under development. It consists of a rover, a robotic arm, a control computer and sensor for teleoperation. The payload of MIRA3D is a 3D-printing head designed to manufacture regolith simulant powder into three-dimensional objects made of regolith. During this printing process, only regolith and electrical energy are used as consumables – no additives or binders are required.
Artistic impression about the creation of a lunar base by Michael Grasshoff from ITD (HBK)
01.05.2017 - 30.04.2020
3D4Space is supported by the „Niedersächsischen Innovationsförderprogramms für Forschung und Entwicklung in Unternehmen“. Besides the IRAS, the alliance consists of the partners:
- Institute for Engineering Design (IK) from TU Braunschweig,
- Institute for Particle Technology (iPAT) from TU Braunschweig,
- Institute of Transportation Design (ITD) from HBK,
- Institute for Recycling (IfR) from Ostfalia publications: