15, December 2015

ESA Open Invitation To Tender AO8512
Open Date: 14/12/2015
Closing Date: 08/02/2016

Status: ISSUED
Reference Nr.: 15.1MS.02
Prog. Ref.: Infrast. Sust.3rdBFC
Budget Ref.: E/0101-01P – Infrast. Sust.3rdBFC
Tender Type: C
Price Range: > 500 KEURO
Establishment: ESTEC
Directorate: Directorate Human Spaceflight & Operatio
Department: ISS Programme and Exploration Department
Division: Development and Future Projects Division
Contract Officer: Hamon, Soisick
Last Update Date: 14/12/2015
Update Reason: Tender issue

Additive Manufacturing (also referred to as 3D printing) is a fast evolving and very competitive technology domain which is revolutionising the approach to conceiving and manufacturing parts. When considering space exploration missions, such a technology will allow realisation of in-orbit manufacturing and repair as well as new designs, tailored to a micro/reduced gravity environment (i.e. without launch loads). This may entail a major departure from how pre-flight qualification/testing is performed today for space hardware. While initiatives have recently materialised to install and operate 3D printers on the ISS (ZeroG Printer by Made In Space, POP3D by TASI), these are currently limited to using polymers and engineering plastics. A necessary evolution is to expand the manufacturing capabilities to metallic materials processing and printing. There are on-going initiatives within ESA, Academia and Industry (e.g. AMAZE project, study on Universal fabricator/replicator) that aim at consolidating Europe’s leadership in the field. This proposed project intends to complement and exploit synergies with these initiatives and provide data for European industry and academia toimprove their systems and qualify them for use on board of the ISS. This proposal will produce/assemble and validate a European 3D printer demonstrator capable of printing small objects using metallic materials at the ISS. Building upon the activities already undertaken by the Agency, it has been decided to initially use wire-fed systems only, and developed as a sub-rack payload for EDR2 in Columbus for this demonstrator. The printer will produce a set of test samples so as to demonstrate feasibility and analyse the effect of manufacturing parameters. Production samples will be returned to ground for in-depth analyses, including mechanical and microstructural evaluation. In addition, the project will allow demonstrating the concept of in-situ part manufacturing and repair by printing a set of items representative of both the expected complexity and functionality.

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