The National Research Council has released a report, commissioned by NASA and the US Air Force, on 3D Printing in Space.
Although fairly positive about the long-term value of 3D printing in space, the study throws some cold water on its near-term prospects.
“Many of the claims made in the popular press about this technology have been exaggerated,” said Maj. Gen. Robert Latiff (USAF-ret.), chairman of the committee that wrote the report.
The report says that 3D printing could contribute to space missions by enabling on-orbit manufacturing of replacement parts and reducing logistics, but the specific benefits and scope of the technology’s use remain undetermined.