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SpiderFab will allow on-orbit Fabrication in outer Space
SpiderFab technology from Tethers Unlimited will enable on-orbit fabrication:
TUI is currently developing a revolutionary suite of technologies called “SpiderFab” to enable on-orbit fabrication ofof large spacecraft components such as antennas, solar panels, trusses, and other multifunctional structures. SpiderFab provides order-of-magnitude packing- and mass- efficiency improvements over current deployable structures and enables construction of kilometer-scale apertures within current launch vehicle capabilities, providing higher-resolution data at lower life-cycle cost.
Challenge Addressed: Currently, a significant fraction of the engineering cost and launch mass of space systems is required exclusively to enable the system to survive launch. This is particularly true for systems with physically large components, such as antennas, booms, and panels, which must be designed to stow for launch and then reliably deploy on orbit. Furthermore, the sizes of apertures and spacecraft structures are limited by the requirement to stow them within available launch fairings. Deployable structures and inflatable/rigidizable components have enabled construction of systems with scales of several dozen meters, but their packing efficiency is not sufficient to enable scaling within available launch shrouds to the kilometer-size baselines desired for applications such as long-baseline interferometry and sparse aperture sensing.