NASA engineers now have assistance in the form of a giant robot to help them build the largest, lightweight composite rocket parts that will be used for the development of future space vehicles for manned missions to Mars and other places, reports NASA.
“The robot will build structures larger than 8 meters, or 26 feet, in diameter, some of the largest composite structures ever constructed for space vehicles,” Justin Jackson, the Marshall materials engineer, said in NASA’s press release.
“This addition to Marshall’s Composites Technology Centre provides modern technology to develop low-cost and high-speed manufacturing processes for making large composite rocket structures,” Preston Jones, deputy director of Marshall’s Engineering Directorate, said in the release.
The robot is installed at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Centre in Alabama.
Lightweight composites are especially beneficial since they allow greater payload that a rocket can carry into space. They also lower the total production cost of the rocket.
“Marshall’s investment in this robot will help mature composites manufacturing technology that may lead to more affordable space vehicles,” said Jackson.
The composite structures that will be built by the robot will be tested in Marshall structural test stands.