Spacecraft of the future will be 3D printed in space by robots

spiderfab robot

The future is looking bright for space exploration as NASA is planning to build the spacecraft of tomorrow in space. The exciting part of this story is that humans are nowhere to be found in the building process, and these spacecrafts will be 3D printed in space. Apparently, NASA plans to have robots do all the work, which makes a lot of sense since the whole manufacturing process takes place in space.

NASA’s new system to build 3D modeled spacecraft in space by robots is called SpideFab. It has the capability of creating spacecraft’s components in space that are 10 times the size of standard available spaceship components.

“SpiderFab is certainly an unconventional approach to creating space systems, and it will enable significant improvements for a wide range of missions,” says Tethers Unlimited, Inc CEO Dr. Rob Hoyt, the folks behind SpiderFab.

From what we understand, SpiderFab is capable of transporting raw materials to space in cost efficient manner via smaller rockets. These materials will then be used to manufacture components via patented robot fabrication systems.

We’re not going to lie here, this sounds very promising for the space exploration of tomorrow. We envision a future where robots will excavate materials from other planets for building all types of components. Energy wouldn’t be an issue, since the heat of the Sun can be used along with crude oil from other planets and moons in our solar system.

Now, if only we can find a way to live long enough to see this all becomes a reality, which would be nice. Google, I’m looking at you.

[via Fast co. Design]

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  1. Darcy

    Wow. Makes sense though, we get far more information out of our robotic missions than our manned missions. Manned missions have to spend most of their time on activities designed to keep them alive in space, not a lot left over for information gathering. If I remember what my astrophysicist brother said correctly, close to 90% of their time is used for life maintaining activities.

    These robots probably won’t waste time scavenging other planets for materials in the future though. Why overcome a gravity well when there are so many meteors around they can dismantle instead?