An agreement between The University of Alabama and NASA will enhance inventive research assisting space exploration and strengthening education of tomorrow’s aerospace workforce.
UA President Stuart R. Bell and Jody Singer, director of NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center, signed a memorandum of understanding Nov. 6 that builds on significant and ongoing collaborative projects in the broad area of additive manufacturing and its potential application with in-space manufacturing.
“Our partnership with NASA is an important priority in our efforts to provide opportunities for our students and researchers to offer solutions to leading-edge challenges,” Bell said. “Working to further in-space manufacturing will establish the University’s expertise in the area while training a skilled workforce our state can rely on to remain competitive in the global economy.”
In-space manufacturing includes making the materials needed for the mission using components brought from Earth or gathered from the moon or Mars. It could include additive manufacturing processes like 3-D printing with plastics, electronics or metals along with the capabilities to design and characterize the materials.
“Additive manufacturing is a rapidly evolving, disruptive technology,” Singer said. “As NASA continues to invest in in-space additive technology innovations, we welcome collaborations with industry and academia to develop these technologies. I applaud The University of Alabama for pursuing the development of advanced technologies that will help NASA achieve our mission.”
The Office for Research and Economic Development leads the UA partnership that initially involves the colleges of Engineering and Arts and Sciences, as well as the Culverhouse College of Business.