The age of terrestrial automation is already upon us. But soon even the age of space automation may come.
The Space Tango start-up has been researching the possibilities of building producing goods in micro-gravity for the past four years. And a few weeks ago they showcased the results of their work – a series of fully autonomous devices called ST-42 that could start producing goods in lower orbit in 2020.
Each of the devices will have a diameter of 2.1 – 2.4 meters and while their exterior will be always the same the interior will be easily modified to the client's specific needs – based on what exactly will the client want to produce.
The start-up’s statement shows that theoretically, it could be almost anything – from carbon nanotubes to silicon panels. And while we produce these things for some time on Earth as well as producing them in micro-gravity can simplify some of the processes that prove to be challenging in regular conditions.
Space Tango is not the only company working on similar projects. Others include companies like Made in Space and Fiber Optic Manufacturing in Space but those focus purely on developing systems that are meant to be used on board the ISS.