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NASA Unveils Rocket Building Robotic Arm


The NASA team has come a long way in developing a high-tech manufacturing robot that will use rotisserie-style techniques to spin carbon fiber rocket parts. This new piece of machinery, residing at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, will provide durable, lightweight composite rocket pieces in record time. The existence of this manufacturing giant is another step forward in NASA’s preparations to send manned missions to Mars.

A materials engineer by the name of Justin Jackson at Marshall Space Flight Center was quoted by the International Business Times as having referred to the new robot as what is “essentially a very sophisticated tape dispenser” while praising NASA for investing in technology that will ultimately make space travel more efficient and less expensive. The machine wields a massive 21-foot arm that dispenses fibers as thin as human hairs. It will streamline production of highly technical rocket parts exponentially.

It’s essentially a very sophisticated tape dispenser.

Although NASA may be making practical strides in long-term financing and hasty manufacturing times, their larger goal is to increase a rocket’s “payload.” Payload refers to the total mass of people, equipment, and the like that they are able to carry on a spacecraft safely. Lighter, more durable parts enable a rocket to travel more effectively and provide a suitable home base from which astronauts are able to operate.

John Vickers, manager for the NASA National Center for Advanced Manufacturing, referred to the development as a “game changer” in a report on NASA’s website — another step in the process of pushing human beings more safely into the depths of outer space.

Huntsville’s new robotic mammoth traverses a 40-foot track, bending its massive arm to hone pieces sometimes more then twenty feet long that will protect crew members and equipment as they blast out of the atmosphere and into the heavens. Watching the machine briskly twist its mechanical tentacles is a mind-boggling sight in itself, but ultimately, its aim is to cast humanity far beyond the cosmic horizon it currently knows.

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