Advanced Manufacturing: The Future of Space

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Traveling to new areas in space or doing new things frequently necessitates cutting-edge technologies, as well as unique materials and manufacturing procedures. As a result, ESA and NASA have collaborated to promote a significant international conference on Advanced Manufacturing, which will bring Industry 4.0 and Space 4.0 together.

Industry 4.0 on a Space Trajectory

The space community is making tremendous advancements through spin-in and technological maturation in the Space 4.0 era, powered by digitalization and growing global interplay of governments, corporate sectors, academia, and society, and has also become a stimulant for technology spin-offs.

As a result, space has become a catalyst for not only knowledge, inspiration, collaboration, and policymaking but also for high-tech integration into the manufacturing domain. As a result, the next industrial revolution, Industry 4.0, is closely linked to Space 4.0 – an era that is already demonstrating the benefits of increasing connectivity, intelligence, flexible automation, and sophisticated manufacturing in the industrial environment.

Smart and advanced manufacturing technologies, such as 3D printing, virtual testing, big-data-driven processes, and quality control processes, are transforming the manufacturing supply chain today, progressively enhancing consumer value and supply chain efficiency.

ESA’s Advanced Manufacturing Initiative

The Advanced Manufacturing cross-cutting initiative of the European Space Agency aims to focus on emerging manufacturing technologies that overcome the limitations imposed by traditional manufacturing techniques. This aspect opens up new industrial possibilities in terms of design freedom, streamlined production stages, reduced price, and improved performance.

More than 100 technology development initiatives with the European space industry have been launched since the initiative began, spanning technology maturation in the areas of materials and processes.

Surface engineering, shaping, additive manufacturing, composite manufacturing, joining, virtual manufacturing, embedded sensors, process modeling, and simulation are just a few examples. The program brought together industrial and institutional partners from all sectors of the manufacturing and design domains of space, assisting in the development and industrialization of manufacturing processes in Europe.

Join in the Journey of ESA

The 1st International Conference on Advanced Manufacturing for Air, Space, and Land Transportation, co-organized by ESA and NASA, will bring together the space, aeronautics, and land transportation engineering and manufacturing communities in the era of Space 4.0 and Industry 4.0.

The conference aims to promote and facilitate conversation and exchange of experience among members of many engineering disciplines, spanning design, development, assembly, integration, and verification aspects. The conference will take place from March 7 to 11, 2022. The conference will allow cross-fertilization opportunities and foster global inter-sectorial technical and commercial exchange by bringing the community closer together.

Special Emphasis on ‘Immature Technology’

A special session dedicated to ‘immature technology’ will be held on March 11 as part of the conference, providing students and researchers the opportunity to present their ideas to the advanced manufacturing community, which includes representatives from premier space agencies, enterprises, and academia. The top contributions will be chosen by voting and presented to ESA for future collaboration. The Immature Technology Day strives to promote awareness of technologies that are still in their infancy, with all associated challenges, but with a bright future ahead of them in the international aerospace community.