12 Companies Launched by Space 3D Printing Under New NASA Contract

Solar Orbiter Launch

NASA has selected 12 companies to provide commercial launch services for the agency’s Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) missions, with contracts totaling $300 million. The list includes big-league space firms like Virgin Orbit and United Launch Alliance (ULA) as well as newer space technology innovators like Rocket Lab. As part of a strategy to optimize weight in systems built for space while reducing manufacturing costs and lead times, most of the companies chosen by NASA are using additive manufacturing (AM) to produce parts, or even entire rockets (like Relativity Space).

The recently announced fixed-price indefinite-delivery contracts have a five-year ordering period. They aim to provide a broad range of Federal Aviation Administration-licensed commercial launch services capable of delivering payloads, ranging from …