NASA-backed space spider concept to build giant satellites in orbit
Space is a place for finished products. The satellites we send into orbit are checked, rechecked and then triple checked to make sure that nothing will fail. That finished product is then neatly folded, packed away atop a giant rocket, and blasted off into orbit.
But one company in the US, recently awarded $500,000 (£320,000) by NASA, wants to change this paradigm. Tethers Unlimited wants to change the way we think about the things we put into space. In their words, they want to "launch the process, not the product".
Introducing SpiderFab, a potentially revolutionary idea for constructing satellites and other piece of kit in orbit, instead of building them on Earth and launching them ready-made. Using 3D printing and other advanced manufacturing techniques, SpiderFab could build large-scale space structures the likes of which have never been seen before.
"What we're working towards is enabling a satellite to fabricate and integrate large components on orbits," Rob Hoyt, CEO and Chief Scientist of Tethers Unlimited.
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