The first 3D-printer in Space will reach the international space station in fall 2014. In an interview with public affairs office Lori Meggs, the project manager 3d-printing of the Marshall Flight Center revealed what NASA hopes to accomplish with this project.
"We're starting with plastic with this first printer, but we will be moving to metals and other types of materialsí▒, said Niki Werkheiser. She demonstrated the possibilities for spare parts and tools, printed out by the astronauts themselves. Some parts could be printed within 20 minutes, instead of waiting six months for a resupply.
Werkheiser pointed out 3d-printing as an important technology for both the ISS and possible future manned space flights. She said that the possibility to print parts and tools at places disconnected from normal supply lines was also interesting for things like army missions. The first version of the interstellar 3d-printer will be installed on the ISS in Fall 2014.