Could habitat components 3D-printed in Chattanooga at the INCubator/Hamilton County Business Development Center wind up in deep space? It could happen. INCubator client Branch Technology won a NASA competition and $250,000 to continue to innovate and test.
“Branch Technology is taking construction into a new era. C-Fab (Branch's unique 3D-printing process) allows virtually unlimited design freedom using economical construction materials, faster on-site fabrication and reduced waste. The result is democratized design along with improved resource stewardship,” says Platt Boyd, Branch Technology CEO. “If you can dream it, you can build it.”
Team Foster + Partners | Branch Technology of Chattanooga successfully completed Phase 2: Level 3 of NASA’s 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, NASA’s Centennial Challenges prize competition. Pennsylvania State University of University Park received second place, and a reward of $150,000.
The multi-phase, $2.5 million 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge is designed to advance construction technology needed to create sustainable housing solutions for Earth and beyond.
“The advancement and innovation in additive construction that we’ve seen from these teams is inspiring,” said Jim Reuter, deputy associate administrator for NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate. Reuter presented the check Aug. 26, 2017.
“Meeting the technology goals of this challenge proves that competition can push boundaries, and their work puts us that much closer to preparing the way for deep space exploration.”
Teams were required to develop the fundamental 3D-printing technology necessary to produce a structurally sound habitat, including the printer itself and construction materials. Competitors then had to print beams, cylinders and domes that were analyzed and compressed to failure to determine scores and prize awards. The competition activities were open to the public, and many industry leaders and local school groups attended the event. A gallery of photos from the challenge events can be found on the NASA Headquarters’ Flickr site.
Learn more about Branch Technology here.
Learn more about the Chattanooga Chamber operated INCubator here.
Find more information about the Centennial Challenges Program here.