Oct 6, 2016

Robots will build spacecraft in orbit

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, satellites, solar power, sustainability

Lee Teschler

Executive Editor


The days of launching complete satellites and similar extraterrestrial objects into orbit may be numbered. Instead, orbiting robots will construct them in space. The basic principles of this concept are being perfected by a company called Tethers Unlimited Inc. in Bothell Wash. under a NASA contract. Tethers’ SpiderFab: Architecture for On-Orbit Construction of Kilometer-Scale Apertures, will enable on-orbit fabrication of super-large objects such as antennas, solar panels, trusses, and other multifunctional structures. In ten years, Tethers expects to perfect the technology to a degree that will make possible self-fabricating, self-assembling satellites.

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