China scientists develop space 3D printer

Updated: 2016-04-19 23:11


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CHONGQING -- Researchers with the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) have successfully developed the country's first space 3D printer.

Scientists with both CAS's Chongqing Institute of Green and Intelligent Technology and the Technology and Engineering Center for Space Utilization were behind the two-year-long project.

Duan Xuanming, head of 3D printing research center under CAS's Chongqing Institute, said the printer has finished 93 zero gravity flying tests in France.

The printer can produce bigger space parts than the one sent to the International Space Station by NASA late last month.

The device could help China build a space station in 2020 and facilitate its operation and maintenance thereafter, said Duan.

In-orbit 3D printing is effective in helping with space station repair and maintenance and is essential for future deep space exploration, Duan said.

It can cut the operation cost of space stations and reduce their dependence on ground supplies, he added.