Mind blown

This startup is outsourcing production to space

September 11, 2019

This aptly named startup is eyeing extraterrestrial outsourcing.

Made in Space has plans to produce ZBLAN wire on the International Space Station and have it shipped back to Earth for humans to use, reports Wired.

Both Made in Space CEO Andrew Rush and NASA (currently the company's primary investor and customer) hope this could be the start of the "low-Earth orbit economy," per Wired.

ZBLAN wire has absorption properties that are useful for "high-end lasers" and "undersea internet cables," reports Wired. Space creates the optimal environment for ZBLAN production due to lack of gravity that prevents density separations and crystallization of the fragile material used to create the product.

The startup sent a ZBLAN lab on previous SpaceX missions, in which astronauts sent the machine back to Earth when the fiber was produced. The project is in the research phase, but the company aims to eventually establish a manufacturing facility in orbit, with only materials making the journey between Earth and space. The company plans to begin selling small quantities in 2020.

Stay tuned to see if free two-day shipping applies in space, too. Read more at Wired. Taylor Watson