In view of the fact that the last space race was driven by ideology and intended to declare that one economic system is superior to another; this is a product that uses 3D printing technology, which will make countless wealth among companies. Compete with each other. The opportunities for satellite networks, planetary colonization, space manufacturing, mining and space tourism seem incredible. Most importantly, people are incredibly optimistic.
For space exploration and travel, the business model and long-term profitability of these businesses seem to be weak. Yes, the opportunities are huge, but if we consider space investment, it is usually television Internet and telephone communications from communications companies, the International Space Station (ISS), and scientific projects such as national defense. As aerospace companies themselves venture into satellite networks, it seems that some integrated satellite, television, film, and music alliances will win huge successes, with many failures. Science seems to be threatened in today’s world. Unless they are prestigious projects underway in China, people will not see the opening of large-scale projects like the International Space Station, which makes investors’ optimism or defense spending new. The space race laid the foundation. If we look at space investments, launch vehicles, launch missions, and infrastructure, then the space race actually looks like a defense company, with occasional smiling space tourists. If investors are optimistic in the long run, then this may make the new space race a reality. Unless most of the money comes from the defense industry, especially parts of the US government, such as the National Research Organization and the Department of Defense.
In the PR space race with Virgin Atlantic and SpaceX, the competition for temporary satellites and new missionable satellites, offensive space systems and even systems that may destroy or target ground targets are competing. At the same time, the risk of space junk and the need to continuously replace satellite systems drive the demand for launches, aircraft, and procedures. Another way to describe the current space race is that the US Defense Department hopes to expand its supplier base from a few to more. Therefore, I think the current space race is a defense business, not an expansion of opportunities. These types of businesses usually rely heavily on government initiatives and grand plans (Star Wars, Moon in a decade, comprehensive information awareness). The government’s spending strategy and procurement will further make the situation more chaotic. In the past few years, as the United States has shown greater arbitrary decision-making, this may be a difficult road. Similarly, other countries currently play an important role in the financing of the new space program, so this competition has fewer competitors than the original ones.
If we think that the US government has laid the foundation for the “new space race”, then everything makes more sense. Sandia and ORNL Laboratories have commercialized 3D printing technology for many years. The space shuttle program greatly promoted many directed energy deposition, laser cladding, and EBM programs. Under radar surveillance, billions of dollars of funds are used for materials, craftsmanship, machinery, and technology for the spy satellite competition. This competition is a bit like a challenge that the United States has independently launched to beat its own personal best.
NASA is in the middle between them and publicly available information and technology. For many years, NASA has been working tirelessly to bring EBM into space manufacturing. Many tests and NASA programs have solved the technical problems of 3D printing in space. There has been a lot of attention to the MARS habitat challenge, but NASA has done more. Currently, it is helping to develop bioprinting, circuit printing, plastic recycling, metal printing, polymer printing, rocket engine printing, new 3D printing metals, magnetic 3D printing, printing of large space parts in space, and so on. If an organization is responsible for the current 3D printing space race, it is NASA.
NASA’s important work on rocket propulsion systems disseminates knowledge about the advantages of spacecraft 3D printing, especially in propulsion. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) shows that reducing the number of parts can be achieved through 3D printing. NASA showed us that the metal 3D printed propulsion device can significantly reduce weight. NASA also showed us how to develop a 3D printing propulsion system at lower cost and faster speed through 3D printing.
Since NASA shared their knowledge and discoveries, 3D printing is the best technology for manufacturing new rocket engines, which has become public knowledge in the space industry. With 3D printing, you can cut development time in half while reducing costs by 40% or more. Using the same process and technology, you can reduce the number of parts. In some cases, you can reduce the number of parts from 80 to 3. This can reduce the cost of molds and molds, and can reduce the number of parts manufactured and continued to be produced. The same development allows you to iterate faster. Based on the test, you can now manufacture more parts and try more parts, and you can complete this task faster. At the same time, you can also reduce weight, which is essential in space exploration. At NASA, it has been shown to everyone time and time again that the manufactured parts can be compared with or surpassed traditionally manufactured parts.
By sharing data, NASA decided to use a new generation of space companies for 3D printing. In terms of propulsion, all major players are using metal 3D printing technology to build and power next-generation spacecraft. 3D printed propulsion systems are cheaper than previous propulsion systems, faster to manufacture, and lighter in weight. Through more iterations and weight reduction, 3D printing will be used, which will power the new space race.
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