The Center for Design Research (CDR) and collaborators in the Virginia Tech Macromolecular Innovation Institute and DREAMS lab have formalized a relationship with industry partner AI SpaceFactory. AI SpaceFactory is a New York based, full-service architecture and space technology company. Together the group will collaborate on the next phase of the NASA 3D-Printed Habitat challenge to produce a viable Martian habitat. Last Summer, the AI SpaceFactory team's technical design proposal, MARSHA, was endorsed by NASA with a top prize as part of the 3D Printed Habitat Challenge. Beginning in the fall of 2018, this group worked together with VT CDR and MMII, and Autodesk on the integration of a large format robotic printing platform that was used by AI SpaceFactory to produce artifacts for the Construction Phase of the Competition. The team took second place in the construction challenge, judged on the basis of structural performance, autonomy and material design. As part of the ongoing partnership students from the Advanced Design Robotics course taught by Dr. Nathan King and Martin Angst, and students from mechanical engineering will work with AI SpaceFactory to develop the next stage of the competition –a large scale in situ construction of the MARSHA proposal. During the spring semester the AI SpaceFactory team will be working with VT students and faculty in the CDR- Design Robotics Laboratory to further develop the robotics processes. In April, the team will travel to the demonstrate their work during the NASA 3D -Printed Habitat Challenge in Peoria Illinois.

AI SpaceFactory - MARSHA - Our Vertical Martian Future Video

First Image: Large format vessel printed by AI SpaceFactory in the Autodesk BUILD Space for the construction phase of the competition. The tooling was developed in collaboration with Virginia Tech and Autodesk. (Image: AI SpaceFactory)

Second Image: MARSHA habitat designed by AI SpaceFactory will be printed at large scale during the next phase of the challenge. (Image: AI SpaceFactory)