Professors Amit Bandyopadhyay and Susmita Bose of Washington State University (WSU) are becoming world leaders in the field of 3D printing research. In fact, their research is out of this world. The WSU researchers made headlines late last year after they devised a way to use artificial moon dust, supplied by NASA, in a 3D printing device. The project was meant to test the capabilities of building parts for a potential moon base. The collaboration between NASA and WSU caught the attention of the European Space agency which is also now investigating the possibility of building a moon base using 3D printers.
More recently WSU established a partnership with Aerojet to explore ways 3D printers could manufacture parts for satellites while in orbit. Aerojet is a world leader in rocket and aerospace manufacturing. The partnership is supported by the Joint Center for Aerospace Technology Innovation (JCATI), an state initiative meant to connect academic research with industry. Washington’s state legislature established JCATI in 2012 to make sure that Washington remains a global leader in aerospace innovation.