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Byline: JAMES DETAR
If the astronauts on the Columbia space shuttle had been able to get outside and do a space walk, they might have been able to repair damaged tiles.
That might have bought them enough time to bail out before the shuttle came apart last February.
That's one comment in NASA's report on the Columbia disaster. But how could they get spare parts in space? There isn't room to store parts on a spacecraft.
NASA may already have part of the answer. Even before the disaster, it was working with a firm called Stratasys to develop a machine that can make spare parts in space.
Aerospace technology is just one of the new markets Stratasys has entered in recent years. The once-staid prototyping equipment maker is moving in new directions. One is space. …