We did it! We 3D printed in space

oh just fuqin exciting!

Gigaom

Stuck in space without a part you desperately need? That’s not such a big deal anymore, thanks to a 3D printer that arrived at the International Space Station last month.

3D printer startup Made In Space has completed its first run of 21 prints on the machine. While 20 of the parts were designed in advance (and didn’t necessarily have an actual purpose), one printed item was designed to meet a real need. Made In Space co-founder Mike Chen wrote in a blog post that when ISS commander Barry Wilmore said he needed a ratcheting socket wrench, the startup quickly designed one and sent it to him on the ISS. He then printed it.

ISS commander Barry Wilmore with a ratcheting socket wrench printed on the International Space Station. ISS commander Barry Wilmore with a ratcheting socket wrench printed on the International Space Station.

“Because it’s a lot faster to send digital data (which can travel at the speed of light) to space than it…

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