In support of the travel supply chain model for crewed exploration missions, SPR is being developed as an essential element of a self-sustaining, closed-loop, on-orbit manufacturing process. The ability to repair essential equipment in deep space may be dependent on the ability of the crew to manufacture those components from available materials. And if materials come from packaging, failed or damaged components, and other no longer necessary onboard subsystems, the logistics supply chain will require far less upmass. Refining and selecting the materials that can be used for their original purpose and still be recycled for re-purposing is the other crucial step in developing the travel supply chain. Understanding the entire inventory of available recyclable materials is the most important first step, which is why Techshot has proposed that task as its initial objective of this Phase I project. However, we also recognize that this material selection process will be an iterative and evolving process as new space-worthy materials for packaging, components, and subsystems are selected. Techshot is eager to be an integral part of the travel supply chain development team in providing guidance as to what materials will work effectively with SPR. Initial operations on ISS will validate the performance of SPR and serve as a test bed in advance of exploration missions. Techshot will work closely with NASA to ensure it is compatible with all 3D printers selected for flight.
Industrial customers who want their materials tested and validated for use in components to be employed on deep space missions, may also be interested in preliminary testing of their product in SPR and 3D printers in the ISS test bed. Therefore, these industrial-based suppliers are likely to become second tier customers for Techshot. In addition to marketing ISS test bed services to our own customers, we also anticipate referrals to industrial customers from the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS). Techshot is an implementation partner of CASIS and has a long standing relationship with them. We anticipate continuing to work with CASIS to identify and facilitate industry users of ISS and our spaceflight hardware technologies. In addition, Techshot sees a strong potential for the SPR to help in advancing innovation in manufacturing particularly as it relates to extrusion-based additive manufacturing. Since manufacturing advancements have been encouraged by Presidential Executive Order 13329, which states to give "high priority" to advanced manufacturing-related research within the SBIR program, this proposal qualifies as an important manufacturing improvement initiative. Furthermore, Techshot foresees the potential to improve industrial energy efficiency by developing more efficient equipment and processes used in industry. This further promotes the priority of our SPR proposal under the "Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007, section 1203.