Selected On-Demand Medical Applications of 3D-Printing for Long-Duration Manned Space Missions

Document Type

Technical Report

Publication Date



Recent technological advances in the area of Additive Manufacturing (i.e. 3D printing) allow for exploration of their use within long-duration manned space missions. Among the many potential application domains, medical and dental fabrication in support of crew health is of interest to NASA’s Advanced Exploration Systems directorate. A classification of medical events with their associated response timeline discern between those applications where current 3D printing technologies can provide adequate support. Products and devices that require on-demand fabrication (due to the high level of personal customization) but that can wait for a reasonable (e.g. few hours) fabrication time are the most promising areas. Among these non-emergency, on-demand applications, two were identified for further investigation: dental health and pharmaceutical drugs. A discussion on the challenges presented by a microgravity operational environment on these technologies is provided.


Copyright 2017 NASA

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Publication Title

Marshall Space Flight Center Faculty Fellowship Program

Published Citation

Selected on-demand medical applications of 3D-printing for long-duration manned space missions. (2016). In N.F. Six and G. Karr (Eds), Marshall Space Flight Center Faculty Fellowship Program. NASA/TM-2017-218234, M-1425. pp: 52-61. National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

Peer Reviewed