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The European Space Agency (ESA) has successfully 3D printed a full scale and one-tenth scale replica of an actual Extravehicular Activity (EVA) glove worn by astronaut Hans Schlegel.  According to ESA:

These recreations were produced through fused deposition modelling of thermoplastic material at ESA’s technology centre in Noordwijk, the Netherlands.

The gloves are an example of additive manufacturing, used routinely at ESA, with melted thermoplastic laid down layer by layer by a movable printing head, guided by a computer model.

Spacesuit gloves are highly complex constructions whose performance is vital to effective and safe astronaut EVAs. ESA’s replicas demonstrate the capability to quickly produce design models for study, but it is unlikely they will be usable for actual spacewalks at this stage.

Image caption: 3D-printed replicas of Hans Schlegel’s EVA glove in full and one-tenth scale (Credits: ESA).

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Merryl Azriel

Merryl Azriel

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Having wandered into professional writing and editing after a decade in engineering, science, and management, Merryl now enjoys reintegrating the dichotomy by bringing space technology and policy within reach of an interested public. After three years as Space Safety Magazine’s Managing Editor, Merryl semi-retired to Visiting Contributor and manager of the campaign to bring the International Space Station collaboration to the attention of the Nobel Peace Prize committee. She keeps her pencil sharp as Proposal Manager for U.S. government contractor CSRA.