Today: Jul 20, 2024

2024 Startups to Watch: Raven Space Systems, Soaring with Stratospheric 3D-Printed Exploration

7 months ago

Raven Space Systems, a Kansas City-based startup, is rapidly advancing its position in the field of 3D printing for space exploration. The company, founded in 2020 by Blake Herren and Ryan Cowdrey, specializes in developing 3D printed hypersonic flight testbed vehicles for the defense and space industries. Their breakthrough concept involves the creation of 3D printed reentry capsules for on-demand space cargo return.

After securing a Phase 2 contract with the U.S. Air Force shortly after the creation of their product, Herren and Cowdrey realized the potential of their technology. 3D printing in space exploration represents a significant breakthrough in composite 3D printing. The company has received funding from NASA, the National Science Foundation (NSF), and the U.S. Air Force, and has participated in programs such as the AWS Space Accelerator and Creative Destruction Lab (CDL) Space Stream.

The founders developed their groundbreaking invention, known as MAD3D printing, during the COVID-19 pandemic. MAD3D printing is a microwave-assisted-deposition printing technology that offers a cost-effective alternative to traditional aerospace manufacturing methods. It outperforms other thermal protection materials, such as aluminum, while weighing only half as much.

Raven Space Systems plans to scale up its operations in the coming year, transitioning from a desktop proof-of-concept scale 3D printer to an industrial-scale, multi-axis 3D printer. This shift will allow for the production of materials and marks a significant step toward commercialization. The company’s most ambitious plan is a demonstration mission set for 2025, in which one of their 3D-printed space capsules will be put to the test on a mission to the International Space Station.

Overall, Raven Space Systems is poised to make a significant impact in the field of space exploration with its innovative 3D printing technology. The company’s success in securing contracts and funding, as well as its participation in prestigious programs, highlights the potential of their breakthrough concept.