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Guest: Fabian Alefeld; Topics: Additive manufacturing consulting for space projects, 3 D in space printing, power needs, R&D, developing materials science, rapid development pace, space entrepreneurs, lunar habitats, and more.
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We welcomed Fabian Alefeld of EOS Additive Minds Consulting Service to the program to discuss space manufacturing and development with 3 D printing, lasers, robotics, and advanced AI. Early in the discussion, Fabian said that additive manufacturing (3 D printing) was the key enabler for space development. This led to a lengthy discussing of just how EOS and new technologies are both enhancing and enabling space development. Listeners sent in notes asking about RD and the benefits regarding space development from these new technologies.
An additional topic was the use of space materials for this technology. Moon dust was brought but so was planetary resource utilization from asteroids. Our guest suggested that these would be key technologies and tools for small space startups. When asked for an example of companies benefiting from these tools he mentioned, Launcher and Vast. This was followed with a note from James in Boston inquiring about space solar power technology and AI. Later, human spaceflight safety came up for discussion and our guest provided examples of components and tools that would enable development of this field. In this context, much was said about simulation. As we discussed the technology and the materials, our guest called to our attention the issue of fatigue for some of the materials and processes used in additive manufacturing.
The materials discussion led us to talk about raw materials and their space function/durability. This prompted a call from Dr. Kothari regarding materials used for the molten salt thorium reactor. This call was more detailed in that Ajay asked our guest about specific compounds and names via their chemical and technical identities such as C-6. Don't miss this exchange between Ajay and Fabian as it was important in many aspects, including the understanding of the broad swath being cut into technology, materials and in-space work as a result of 3 D printing, AI, and robotics.
A Seattle listener sent in an email asking our guest about the use of 3 D printing in space and the corresponding power requirements for using such tools. Fabian went into some detail on this question with laser power, volts required for specific printing functions, even power for a lunar habitat. Fremont John then called in wanting to know how soon a 3 D printer would be able to copy itself. This too proved a most interesting discussion. Don't miss it. Before ending, Fabian was asked about the printing, materials, energy and technology trends for space development along with consulting for space companies in these disciplines. Harold from Los Angeles closed us out by asking Fabian about the growth in printing compared to the growth in materials science. Our guest reaffirmed both of these as growth areas but stressed that we should not downplay the rapid and essential growth in materials science to support and enable additive manufacturing.
Please post your comments/questions for Fabian on our program blog for Fabian's appearance. You can reach our guest through me if you want to contact him or through our blog as I will make sure he sees your comment.