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NASA Marshall robot will build biggest composite rocket parts

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama – A giant robot at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center is helping the agency build the largest lightweight composite parts ever produced for space vehicles.

The robot’s work at the Alabama facility may prove pivotal in NASA’s new Space Launch System, designed to be the most powerful rocket ever built, capable to taking man to an asteroid and eventually to Mars. Using lightweight materials like composites would allow the SLS to carry more payload – crew, equipment, science instruments – on missions.

The Huntsville facility says NASA is conducting composites manufacturing technology development and demonstration projects to determine whether the lightweight materials can be part of the SLS and other exploration spacecraft, such as landers and rovers.

“These new robotic fiber placement tools are game changers because they can drastically reduce the cost and improve the quality of large space structures,” said John Vickers, the manager for NASA’s National Center for Advanced Manufacturing.

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