Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Construction materials for space stations

04.03.2005


Antenna and telescope mirrors, walls and partitions for space stations, solar battery panels and even houses on the Moon and on Mars – all this can be achieved with technology developed by Russian scientists in the framework of ISTC projects 2835 and 2836. What is more, it can be achieved quickly, with good levels of strength and reliability, with minimal expense of time, space, energy and money.



These construction materials or, to be more accurate, original semi-products for future structures, are brought into space in compact, hermetically-sealed containers. The half-finished product is connected to a compressed gas cylinder and inflated on site. In just a few hours the soft, moist fabric becomes a rigid, strong material in the form of a table, partition or antenna.

Using these pneumatic setting structures in space is the idea of specialists from the Babakin Scientific Research Center and NPO Lavochkin. And they propose that modules of space stations be built from these light yet sturdy materials, initially for orbital stations, but in future moving to lunar and Martian examples. Of course we are not talking about covering panels for spacecraft or roofs for houses, but of internal partitions, walls, and three-dimensional structures such as solar battery panels, antennae and telescope mirrors.


One of the greatest problems of construction in space, whatever is being built, is the supply of materials and structural details. Entire cumbersome designs simply do not fit into a spacecraft, which means they have to be carried in parts and then assembled in orbit. And this is incredibly difficult, especially for designs that require a particularly precise assembly. Primarily this applies to parabolic antennae and telescope mirrors; their diameter is measured in tens of meters and any distortion in their surface could lead to errors, sometimes of an irreparable nature.

“In essence our technology is simple,” say the developers. “We form the future product from a special fabric, light and strong; what is important is that we do it all on Earth. We give it the required form, in a process that is strictly controlled. We place inside the structure something akin to a rubber inner bladder, such as you would find inside a football. Then we impregnate the material with a special solution. The semi-product for a future antenna is now ready. Now all that is needed is to pack it up, seal it hermetically, send it to its destination and then inflate it.”

The essence lies in the fact that, when it dries the solution sets, turning the material it has impregnated into a strong, rigid, non-combustible shell. In space, in an airless environment, the water will vanish by itself, without the need for additional assistance. And the compressed gas will fulfill a double task: it will unfurl the product and give it its shape. So there is no need for additional expense on energy to inflate the structure or to fix its shape.

These pneumatic setting structures have not been in space yet. The scientists are optimizing the composition of the solution, selecting the best materials for the base and specifying the details of the technology with greater precision. But it is clear even today that in terms of strength the new materials are no worse than traditional ones, while they are several times lighter.

Olga Myznikova | alfa
Further information:
http://www.istc.ru

More articles from Physics and Astronomy:

nachricht Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation
12.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Quantenoptik

nachricht Telescopes team up to study giant galaxy
12.12.2017 | International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research

All articles from Physics and Astronomy >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

Im Focus: Successful Mechanical Testing of Nanowires

With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong

Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

12.12.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Multi-year submarine-canyon study challenges textbook theories about turbidity currents

12.12.2017 | Earth Sciences

Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

12.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>