Remarks by Techshot President, CEO John C. Vellinger
President Trump, Vice President Pence, distinguished members of the National Space Council; it’s an honor to appear before you today, here at the White House.
I’d like to describe how Techshot, the company I co-founded in Indiana nearly 30 years ago, is an innovation engine that uses space to help make life better here on earth, while also enabling deep space exploration.
One of our most exciting projects focuses on 3D bioprinting in space – with the goal of manufacturing human tissue for patients on earth. Right now we are building the Techshot BioFabrication Facility, which will launch to the International Space Station early next year. We’ll start with simpler tissues, such as patches that can help heal damages hearts, and steadily increase in complexity until we are bio-manufacturing whole organs.
The bioprinter also may have a role in deep space exploration, where it could be used to make food items, or function as a compounding pharmacy – enabling the remote formulation of drugs optimized for each crew member.
Besides our own use of the system, we also will allow others to use it. It will join our catalog of Techshot-developed equipment currently on board the station, which we Techshot, Inc. provide as a commercial service. For example, researchers from Eli Lilly, Novartis and UCLA have used our Bone Densitometer X-ray machine in space to study new drug treatments for osteoporosis and muscle wasting diseases – both of which affect people on earth and crews in space during long-duration missions.
I believe that NASA and its Commercial Space Utilization Program, and the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space, are succeeding at increasing demand for low-earth orbit commercial services. And Techshot is providing many of the picks and shovels that researchers are using in this 21st century gold rush in space.
Beyond the commercialization of low-earth orbit, our contributions to exploration currently focus on other new technologies that enable mission success in deep space.
Techshot is prototyping for NASA a machine we call the Techshot FabLab, which is capable of 3D manufacturing with metals, ceramics, plastics and more. It can even print complete electronic assemblies. If the agency likes our approach, the technology will be refined for testing aboard the ISS, and eventual deployment aboard the Lunar Orbital Platform-Gateway. Techshot’s FabLab also will be useful in austere environments on earth, such as aboard submarines that must remain submerged for months at a time.
President Trump, under your leadership, the U.S. is entering an unprecedented golden age of spaceflight, which is presenting multiple opportunities to advance global American competitiveness. Techshot is proud to be playing a critical role in this unique time in space history. For this opportunity, I thank you.