NASA Taps AL College for 3D-Printing Studies


NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, in Huntsville, Alabama, has recently selected nearby Drake State Community and Technical College to help research 3D-printing technologies that will help prepare for sustainable Artemis operations on the moon by the end of the decade (and for future human missions to Mars).

Drake State submitted a proposal to Marshall's seventh competitive Cooperative Agreement Notice for Dual-Use Technology Development solicitation.

The award will fund collaborative research in support of NASA's Moon to Mars Planetary Autonomous Construction Technologies project, which aims to develop, deliver and demonstrate on-demand capabilities to protect astronauts and create infrastructure on the lunar surface via construction of landing pads, habitats, shelters, roadways, berms and blast shields using lunar regolith-based materials.

The research team that will test the 3D-printed concrete structures consists of students, instructors and administrators from the college’s Engineering Design program.

“Being Huntsville’s community college we’re especially proud to have received this CAN award,” said Patricia Sims, President of Drake State Community & Technical College. “We’ve been a part of the Rocket City since 1961. The opportunity to support NASA with our research project is truly exciting.”

As part of the project, the research team will collaborate with ICON, an innovative 3D printing construction company in Austin, that is working with NASA on early research and development of a space-based construction system that could support future exploration of the Moon and Mars. Additionally, instructors in the Engineering Design program will develop curriculum related to the research project and add the specialty classes to the college’s course catalog.

The one-year research project is funded through NASA’s Minority University Research and Education Project.


Tagged categories: 3D printing; 3D Printing; Good Technical Practice; Government; Government contracts; NA; NASA; North America

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