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The Benefits of Semiconductor Manufacturing in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) for Terrestrial Use

NASA astronaut and Expedition 65 Flight Engineer Megan McArthur works in the Microgravity Science Glovebox swapping samples for an experiment called Solidification Using a Baffle in Sealed Ampoules, or SUBSA. The physics investigation explores experimental methods of crystallizing melts in microgravity and is expected to result in reduced fluid motion in the melt, leading to better distribution of subcomponents and the potential for improved technology used in producing semiconductor crystals.

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) in semiconductor and in-space manufacturing collaborated on a white paper that outlines how microgravity benefits the production of semiconductors and related materials. Earth’s gravitational forces pose substantial barriers to quick, high-yield semiconductor production. Microgravity offers a path to overcome these barriers. There are also substantial practical benefits to incorporating LEO-based manufacturing into the supply chain. The white paper argues that transitioning this industry into space is a path forward to achieving NASA’s In Space Production Applications’ (InSPA) goals. These goals include strengthening U.S. technological leadership, improving national security, creating high-quality jobs, providing benefits to humanity, and enabling the development of a robust economy in LEO.

The paper, “Semiconductor Manufacturing in Low Earth Orbit for Terrestrial Use” can be found here.

Additional information on NASA’s InSPA portfolio can be found at: