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The factories of the future could float in space

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Executives at nScrypt, Bioficial Organs, and Techshot are planning to print beating heart patches aboard the International Space Station by 2019. The weightlessness aboard the International Space Station should let the stem cells maintain shape as they grow together into the tissue of a functioning heart. Space is hard, even for the smartest, wealthiest businesspeople on the planet.

Having assessed hundreds of companies for the NASA space portal, Cozmuta has to watch out for executives claiming to have nailed down an exciting space business idea even though the plan is full of holes.

That’s the type of value-to-weight ratio that can justify the costs and risks of making things in space.

Rather than creating the fragile panels on Earth and blasting them up in multiple trips, Ignatiev wants to assemble the solar cells in space, as a way to significantly reduce costs.

nScrypt’s Church is thinking far beyond printing hearts on the ISS. Assuming they can increase the production speed significantly, the advantages of printing in true 3D versus the “2-and-a-half-D” layer-by-layer approach will allow space printing to compete even with massive terrestrial manufacturers.

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Article originally posted at www.popsci.com

Post Author: Carla Parsons

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