Flexible printed electronics are already being used in commercial applications from medicine to packaging. In 10 years, the market for printable electronics is expected to reach $60 billion – several times NASA’s budget. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is working with Boeing and Xerox Palo Alto Research Center to find ways of leveraging that commercial investment to build complete functional satellites and spacecraft. Printable electronics has the potential to eliminate most or all of the touch labor which make conventional aerospace systems so expensive.
In the not-too-distant future, an engineer may design a space probe on her laptop in the morning, send it off to a printer, and pick up the printed hardware in the afternoon."