Meteorite as raw material for Direct Metal Printing: A proof of concept study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Karel Lietaert
  • Lore Thijs
  • Bram Neirinck
  • Thomas Lapauw
  • Brian Morrison
  • Chris Lewicki
  • 3D Systems LayerWise NV
  • KUL - Katholieke Universiteit Leuven
  • ATI Powder Metals Robinson Operations
  • Planetary Resources, Inc.

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Asteroid mining as such is not a new concept, as it has been described in science fiction for more than a century and some of its aspects have been studied by academia for more than 30 years. Recently, there is a renewed interest in this subject due the more and more concrete plans for long-duration space missions and the need for resources to support industrial activity in space. The use of locally available resources would greatly improve the economics and sustainability of such missions. Due to its economy in material, use of additive manufacturing (AM) provides an interesting route to valorize these resources for the production of spare parts, tools and largescale structures optimized for their local microgravity environment. Proof of concept has already been provided for AM of moon regolith. In this paper the concept of In-Situ Resource Utilization is extended towards the production of metallic objects using powdered iron meteorite as raw material. The meteorite-based powder was used to produce a structural part but further research is needed to obtain a high density part without microcracks


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-81
Number of pages6
JournalActa Astronautica
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2018


  • Additive manufacturing, Laser powder bed manufacturing, Direct metal printing, Asteroid mining, Meteorite, In-situ resource utilization

ID: 5417012