UK grant helps large space structure manufacturing take a step closer
COPMA makes use of technology such as pultrusion (from ‘pull’ and ‘extrusion’), which is a continuous process of manufacturing composite materials of any length and with constant cross-section. Pultrusion is already used for making large structures often with directly embedded sensors such as stress sensors. Magna Parva plans to apply the COPMA technology for space use.
Long range space missions will use a technique developed to fabricate high strength materials of consistent quality that can then be assembled in situ into complex structures. The complex structures can be built to incorporate the specialised sensors as required for missions such as a manned Mars mission.
One of the limiting factors in the development of space is the cost and complexity of launching large structures such as solar arrays from launch vehicles. With launch costs increasing, COPMA should provide a viable alternative to pre-manufactured infrastructure components. When assembled in space, structures can be made thinner and use less material as they do not have to withstand the force of gravity.
The long term aim for COPMA Systems is to develop a space-based technology that allows manufacture of large structures with embedded sensors, electronics and actuators.
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