Print The Future

Additive Manufacturing in Space

Science fiction has often portrayed a future in which humanity has populated the cosmos and is living and working in space. While we haven’t quite realized those visions, the technology to do so is currently being developed by inventors, organizations, and private companies. The installation of two 3D printers on the International Space Station (ISS), for instance, will make it possible to 3D print and assemble, in space, large-scale structures, such as space-based solar power satellites and even spacecraft capable of deploying mobile 3D printers that can construct habitats in space, on the Moon or on Mars.

The National Space Society’s Enterprise In Space program has teamed up with Made In SpaceKepler Space InstituteSketchfab3D Hubs and Prairie Nanotechnology to advance the state of the art in additive manufacturing in space. Our Print The Future contest will allow you to send your 3D design to the International Space Station, where you will have your space-manufactured item returned to Earth. We want to make those sci-fi visions a reality and we need your help to do it.

The Competition

How To Enter


Millions of people living and working in space.

 The Vision


Advancing cutting edge technologies that will get us there such as: 3D Printing, expandable habitats, in-space manufacturing, space-based solar power, asteroid mining and more.

 The Journey


Propose an experiment that you think will advance the state-of-art of NewSpace technology related to additive manufacturing in space.

The Challenge


. . .

Entries Close

 March 1, 2017

. . .

Ten Semi-Finalists Announced

 March 15, 2017

. . .

Paper Submission Deadline

April 1, 2017

Top Three Finalists Announced

 April 15, 2017

. . .

Important Dates, Judging, and Prizes

 Read the following guidelines carefully, and be sure to follow all the rules.

Judging Criteria

Scientific Merit

(25 Points)

Does the project advance or clarify the state of the art in science? Does it explore an original problem or pursue an original approach to an old problem?

Engineering Merit

(25 Points)

Does the project show a knowledge of engineering processes of requirements development, analysis and testing?

Commercial Potential

(25 Points)

Does the project have the potential for solving a need in society?


(25 Points)

Does the project go beyond textbooks written at the finalists’ grade level? Does it show original thinking in the conduct of the project? Is it creative?

If your experiment is selected, you will have access to our resources to make it happen.



Prairie Nanotechnology will lend its lab, which includes atomic force microscopy, x-ray analysis, and scanning electron microscopy.



Made In Space will allow up to three test prints with their 3D Printer on Earth




Your project will be 3D-printed on the Made In Space Additive Manufacturing Facility aboard the ISS, to be returned to Earth for further testing, if required.



You’ll have access to 30 minutes with an ISS astronaut overseeing the fabrication of your project.

The Prizes

  • Sketchfab one-year professional account ($120 value)

  • Your name flown aboard the NSS Enterprise spacecraft

  • Virtual crew member certificate

  • Your name displayed with spacecraft at museum after re-entry

  • Access to exclusive EIS Content

  • Project/experiment proposals published in Enterprise Center for Excellence for Additive Manufacturing in Space

  • Tour of Made In Space facilities at NASA Ames research Park, Moffett Field in California, (Travel not included)

  • Behind-the scenes tour of NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas travel not included)

  • Complimentary associate membership in National Space Society for one year

  • 3D printed prototype of project via 3D Hubs

  • *Complimentary registration for up to three (3) members of each teamto the National space Society’s International Space Development Conference® (ISDC), May 25-29, in St. Louis, MO, to present their papers and receive their awards, travel not included.

  • Sketchfab hoodies, T-shirts and VR cardboards.

  • 3D printed prototype of project using engineering-grade material via 3D Hubs

  • Your item printed in space onboard the International Space Station

  • Up to three test prints on Earth in Made In Space facilities

  • Scientific evaluation via nano-microscopy at Prairie Nanotechnology (if required)

  • Results paper published in Ad Astra magazine and industry trade journal for 3D printing

  • Scholarships for up to three (3) people from Kepler Space Institute ($ 5000) to be applied towards a full certificate program

Join the competition, sign your team up!

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Our Partners