NASA will create two new Space Technology Research Institutes (STRIs) to develop technology in critical areas for engineering and climate research. One will work to improve understanding and help enable rapid certification of metal parts created using additive-manufacturing techniques.

Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh will lead the Institute for Model-Based Qualification & Certification of Additive Manufacturing (IMQCAM), which aims to improve computer models of 3D-printed metal parts and expand their utility in spaceflight applications. The institute, which will be co-led by Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, will receive up to $15 million over five years.

Metal 3D-printed parts are made from powdered metals, which are melted in specific ways and shaped into useful parts. Such parts could be useful for things like rocket engines or as part of a human outpost on the Moon, where bringing pre-fabricated parts would be expensive and limiting.