International Space Station to serve as recycling site. Credit: NASA

International Space Station to serve as recycling site.
Credit: NASA

 

NASA has funded a novel recycling system for the International Space Station (ISS) and future deep-space human expeditions.

The “Positrusion recycler” will convert plastic waste into high-quality 3D printer filament for use in making tools, replacement parts, and satellite components onboard the ISS.

NASA has awarded a Small Business Innovation Research Program award to Tethers Unlimited, Inc. (TUI) of Bothell, Washington to develop the device.

TUI’s patent-pending Positrusion system will process plastic into very high-quality filament for 3D printers.

TUI’s patent-pending Positrusion system will process plastic into very high-quality filament for 3D printers. Credit: Tethers Unlimited, Inc.

TUI’s patent-pending Positrusion system will process plastic into very high-quality filament for 3D printers.
Credit: Tethers Unlimited, Inc.

“We designed the Positrusion recycler to be as safe and simple to operate as a microwave oven, and we believe a consumer version of this machine will be ideal for recycling household and office waste,” says Jeffrey Slostad, TUI’s Chief Engineer in a press statement.

Long-term goal

According to Rob Hoyt, TUI’s CEO and Chief Scientist: “Our long-term goal is to create the capability to construct the habitats, spacecraft, and other infrastructure necessary for exploration and settlement of the solar system using raw material launched from Earth as well as resources available in the space environment.”

Hoyt said that the role of “additive manufacturing” can make possible 3D-printed radiation shielding and structural multi-layer insulation. TUI is also looking at a host of other technologies to fabricate key satellite components such as antennas and solar arrays.

Take a look at TUI’s visionary ideas by going to:

www.tethers.com

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