There is now a 3D printer on the International Space Station

Gigaom

An astronaut installed a 3D printer on the International Space Station (ISS) this morning — a big first that could change how the station’s inhabitants go about their daily lives.

The printer, which is made by Bay Area startup Made in Space, arrived at the ISS on Sept. 22 aboard SpaceX’s Dragon cargo ship. It had to wait to be installed while astronauts concentrated on time-sensitive experiments, such as a group of mice.

It will first print 22 parts to test how it performs in space, followed by a second batch of undetermined items. Made in Space will use what it learns to build a second printer that will be installed permanently in 2015.

The Made in Space printer onboard the International Space Station. The Made in Space printer onboard the International Space Station.

The printer will be available to companies and institutions interested in performing experiments in space. But the astronauts on the ISS will also be…

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