Robot Spins A Web of Carbon Fibers To Build Large Rocket Parts
A new robotic composite fiber placement system at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center will be used to build the biggest, lightweight composite parts ever made for space vehicles. To make large composite structures, the robot travels on a track, and a head at the end of its 21-foot robot arm articulates in multiple directions. The head can hold up to 16 spools of carbon fibers that are as thin as human hairs. The robot places the fibers onto a tooling surface in precise patterns to form different large structures of varying shapes and sizes. Lightweight composites have the potential to increase the amount of payload that can be carried by a rocket along with lowering its total production cost.