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Made in Space

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Made in Space

As the cost of sending payloads into space decreases, we will start to see more products made in space.

As the cost of sending payloads into space decreases, we will start to see more products made in space.

Sure, it sounds cool—imagine the label possibilities!—but making products in space has more to do with leveraging microgravity than marketing. For example, printing muscle tissue, such as a heart, is difficult on Earth because the delicate tissues required tend to collapse under their own weight.

Space-based organ printing using bio-inks and gels would be possible in microgravity. The first bioprinter was sent to the ISS last July and printed a tiny portion of a heart muscle. Similar techniques could be used in microgravity to culture meats more easily.

Another candidate for space production is fiber-optic cables made from fluoride glass, which is difficult to work with terrestrially because our gravity can cause crystals to form when the glass is being heated and stretched. Researchers believe that in space, the necessary fibers could be created more easily.