Reprinted with permission from TheNewAmerican.com.
The days of terrestrially built spaceships propelled into space by rockets may become a thing of the past, as the founders of Made in Space aim to develop orbiting factories that will construct spaceships and satellites in space.
The key to making this ambitious project, which sounds like something out of Star Trek, into a reality, is 3-D printing technology.
According to Made in Space’s website, the advantage of “manufacturing and assembling structures in orbit, rather than on the planet's surface,” is that they will be able to “unlock incredible design possibilities for extending the life of current on-orbit assets or entirely new structures.”
Further explaining that by “pulling fiber in microgravity, we address one of the most critical barriers to perfect ZBLAN on the surface — gravity-caused crystallization.”
ZBLAN are exotic types of glass made with heavy metal fluorides, used to make thin glass fibers. According to NASA research, “ZBLAN glass fibers are valuable for advanced communications, medical, and manufacturing technologies using lasers.”
Made in Space is developing what it calls the “Archinaut,” an orbital factory for constructing large space machinery, including fully-built and functional satellites and possibly even space vessels.
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