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SBIR/STTR

Software and Tools for Electronics Printing in Space(STEPS), Phase I

Completed Technology Project

Project Introduction

We are proposing an to develop a direct write electronics and avionics printing capability within the Techshot BioFabrication Facility currently funded and anticipated to be deliver to the International Space Station in late 2018. We are calling this new system Software and Tools for Electronics Printing in Space or STEPS as it will be another step forward to truly having multimodal digital manufacturing ability in space. Throughout this program we will develop the direct write tools, software and platform to test various combinations of conductive and nonconductive materials for antennas, circuit masks and circuit layouts to prepare to move forward to add pick and place capability and substrate printing to build complete circuit boards and eventually complete 3D circuit structures. Although many of the necessary technologies exist, a key feature in out platform will be a unifying open-source software package. We believe that moving to open-source will broaden the potential user base but will also provide the control, training, security and stability that can only occur when the user community is allowed access to the source code. This is a paradigm shift in the commercial controls world but is readily embraced in the 3D printing world. Now as a dual use system, the BioFabrication Facility plus STEPS will not be limited to crew demands or vehicle availability which may limit biological systems. It will be able to print replacement or upgraded electronics or avionics when it?s not printing tissues. Our end goal is to have enough added capability that the facility will never need to sit idle, space on an exploration vehicle is too valuable. More »

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