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CASE STUDY | Lockheed Martin

New 3D Printer Material Enables Deep Space Travel for Humans

If space is the final frontier, then human travel in to deep space, beyond the Moon, is the ultimate frontier. NASA’s Orion program intends to do just that – travel with humans on board back to the Moon and out into deep space, and one day soon, Mars.

But before human travel, NASA is launching a series of test missions to target risk reduction, efficiencies identification, and industry partnerships enhancement. A successful Exploration Flight Test-1 is already behind them and NASA is poised to launch the next un-crewed phase of its mission, Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), in late 2019. And then, EM-2 will follow in 2023, but with one major addition; this spacecraft will be crewed.

The conditions of deep space require a multi-mission approach with rigorous parts testing and the construction of a new spacecraft for each mission. This ensures both the integrity of the parts but also poses a challenge for Lockheed Martin, prime contractor for the Orion vehicle: repeatability.