3D Printing in Space
The first item was 3D printed on the space station in 2014. Since then, we have explored 3D printing using recycled materials and even printing human tissue. The analysis revealed that microgravity had no significant effects on the process, demonstrating that a 3D printer works normally in space.
Later experiments tested using recycled plastic to print objects and using a specialized bioprinter to print human tissue. The BioFabrication Facility (BFF) took small steps toward printing human organs and tissues in microgravity, using ultra-fine layers of bioink, according to the NASA website.
Testing printers on the station paves the way for future space missions to be more independent of Earth. Needed items could be 3D printed rather than sent from Earth and carried for the entire journey.
Using recycled material for printing could make use of material that otherwise would take up limited storage space on long-duration missions and allow it to be used for creating needed parts.