The VULCAN technology is primarily intended for sustaining human spaceflight operations, first on the ISS and, later, on long-duration missions to the Moon, Mars, or other destinations in the Solar System. Made In Space has built industry alliances with such companies as Boeing, Lockheed Martin, Orbital ATK, Sierra Nevada Corporation, and Bigelow Aerospace to evaluate the optimal concept of operations for in-space manufacturing as an enabling technology for the NextSTEP Cislunar Habitat. Made In Space is also working with UTC Aerospace Systems and Paragon to develop ECLSS design principles for repair and replenishment by in-space manufacturing. Robotic expeditionary missions can also employ the VULCAN technology for autonomous repairs while building the infrastructure preceding human habitation. Local robots may retrieve and install VULCAN-generated parts automatically or via teleoperation. Such capability may be necessary to ensure continuity of operations without direct human intervention and enable human crews to focus on mission objectives.
The Department of Defense has a demonstrated need for advanced manufacturing capabilities in locations and on forward-deployed platforms without regular logistical support or available resources for traditional fabrication and finishing technologies. Perhaps the foremost example is the US Navy submarine fleet. While aircraft carriers are commonly referred to as 'cities at sea' because of their size and on-board industrial capacity, the nation's attack and ballistic missile submarines deploy for months at a time and must function as entirely self-contained units with no physical connection to the outside world. Submarines on patrol duty may only surface during departure from base and upon return. A tactical version of the VULCAN device gives the DoD a modular, common manufacturing system deployable on mobile platforms, such as submarines, destroyers, transport aircraft, and trucks, and in fixed locations with limited external support, such as Forward Operating Bases and advance airfields.Incumbent 3D printing companies generate revenue from four primary sources: new device sales; feedstock sales; on demand printing; and maintenance services. Made In Space plans to adopt a similar revenue model when developing VULCAN units for commercial use. VULCAN units will be developed and sold to the merchant vessel market. Due to its size and importance, Made In Space will initially target the oil tanker vertical.