Chattanooga Launches into Space?

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.



Other Topics

As someone who moved around frequently in recent years, I've always chased a sense of community. This led me to relocate to Chattanooga in August of 2021. I wanted to integrate my life into the Scenic City, and the Chamber…

The effects of the global pandemic have placed a tight hold on an already strained workforce. In 2021, approximately 47.4 million workers left their positions in search of better opportunities. The same year closed with 4.6 million more job openings…

Nearly 15,000 people are released from Tennessee penitentiaries each year. Project Return is dedicated to helping the formerly incarcerated successfully transition back into communities and work. Founded in Nashville in 1979, Project Return expanded to Chattanooga in 2021. The nonprofit program provides the resources and services,…

Sign up for weekly updates.