Working in conjunction with Harding University in Searcy, AR, this project will enhance Optomec laser sintering technology to a fully automated curing system for printed electronics. This will pave the way for the use of this advanced technology in the next generation of human space exploration and also expand production use of printed electronics to a broader range of temperature sensitive substrates used in commercial applications.
The success of this endeavor could prove to be of vital importance to NASA’s in-space, on-demand manufacturing capabilities to support the unique challenges of long-duration human spaceflight. The developed automated, in-line quality control system with ALSS will meet the requirements for long-duration human space missions with minimal need for astronaut intervention. This will allow NASA to print conformal electronics and sensors onto flexible substrates of various geometrical complexities and then fully cure them using Aerosol Jet technology, all while in space.
“After the successful design, test and implementation of ALSS, the science and technology of laser sintering will be better understood for controllable adaptive operations,” said Optomec CTO Mike Renn. “ALSS can be a key solution to NASA’s challenge of in-space, on-demand manufacturing capabilities to support the unique challenges of long-duration human spaceflight, which requires an automated adaptive in-line quality control system along with the associated manufacturing process.”