Text Size

Advanced Digital Materials and Manufacturing for Space (ADMMS)

Over the last several years, manufacturing has gone from more manual processes (traditional) to digitally automated processes, such as 3D printing and additive processes (advanced). In order to take advantage of these changes to advance certain elements of NASA’s mission, the Ames Center Chief Technologist (CCT) Office has established the “Advanced Digital Materials and Manufacturing for Space (ADMMS) Initiative. ADMMS will focus on advanced manufacturing technologies for space, including identifying several target products areas and applications, approaches mechanisms, and facilities, of initial interest. The anchor element of the ADMMS will be the ARC “SpaceShop”, based around the FabLab concept, developed by the MIT Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA). As described by CBA, “…Fab labs provide widespread access to modern means for invention. They began as an outreach project from MIT's Center for Bits and Atoms (CBA). CBA assembled millions of dollars in machines for research in digital fabrication, ultimately aiming at developing programmable molecular assemblers that will be able to make almost anything...”

The initial ADMMS objective is to apply these FabLab-based advanced manufacturing technologies to some of our specific ARC technology and product interests, including small spacecraft structures and components, biological technologies and in particular synthetic biology, small science instruments and spaceflight hardware and components, and in-situ repurposing of space products and materials. In the future, this will be expanded to development of other products, technology disciplines, and application areas.

The intent of ADMMS is fivefold:

  1. Develop an in-house, rapid prototyping and manufacturing capability, taking advantage of the latest additive, subtractive, and other advanced, integrated tools and technologies (TechShop ==> SpaceShop, based initially around the FabLab concept);
  2. Produce space-qualified flight hardware, both terrestrially, and in the future, in Space [e.g. small satellites, space and synthetic biology, miniaturized scientific instruments and payloads, and spacecraft components, including structures, deployables and actuators];
  3. Provide an environment where NASA and associated technologists, scientists, and researchers have a hands-on opportunity to advance their ideas from concept to reality;
  4. Serve as a model facility and capability for integrated, collaborative, multidisciplinary technology and product design, development, and application, utilizing both dedicated and virtual facilities and resources, implemented using standardized HW and SW toolsets; and
  5. In support of, and in conjunction with National Advanced Manufacturing Initiatives, leverage the above described resources and expertise with other NASA Centers and organizations, including other governmental agencies and departments, industry (both traditional and entrepreneurial), academia, and international collaborators.

Expected Outcomes and Benefits

  • Advanced, efficient prototype and flight article manufacturing capabilities (both ground and space)
  • New, Innovative Space Exploration products and spinoffs
  • Rapid Prototyping
  • Reduced Costs
  • Empowered workforce, with increased capability to engage in technology innovation
  • Education and Outreach
  • Added National visibility and support for this capability

Download the ADMMS Overview: here