Tethers Unlimited’s printer-recycler goes to NASA

Tethers Unlimited’s Refabricator is a recycler and 3-D printer in one unit, which is about the size of a dorm-room refrigerator. This is the tech demonstration unit that’s been undergoing tests at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama. The unit is to go to the space station next year. (NASA Photo / Emmett Given)

Tethers Unlimited Inc. says it’s delivered a combination 3-D printer and plastic recycler to NASA for testing on the International Space Station.

Tethers Unlimited CEO Rob Hoyt told GeekWire that the Refabricator payload, about the size of a mini-refrigerator, was built under the terms of a $2.5 million Phase 3 contract from NASA’s Small Business Innovation Research program, or SBIR. It’s on its way to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida and is due to be sent to the station on a SpaceX Dragon resupply flight later this year, Hoyt said in an email.

The formal delivery to NASA marks the culmination of three months of performance and certification testing both at Tethers Unlimited’s lab in Bothell, Wash., and at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., the company said today in a news release.

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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