The international space station network as the gatekeeper of the U.S. space advanced science center (CASIS), approved by the 12 item in the International Space Station Experiment The project, including a space manufacturing company Optical fiber Manufacturing plan. The funded by NASAs space, had become the first to have manufacturing equipment in space (a 3D printer), fame, now they announced the optical fiber manufacturing in space microgravity environment also eye-catching.
Because the fiber will affect many fields, especially in the communication industry.
The space manufacturing company in 2017 is expected to be a new manufacturing equipment to the international space station. If the initial test is successful, then the company will be in the production of space optical products with better quality than the past, and then put these products back to earth, used in the manufacture of Internet infrastructure, medical devices and sensors for aerospace and defense industry.
It is reported that microgravity may be the most ideal optical fiber manufacturing environment. Now, the fiber can be used in many fields, but most people know is used in the communications industry, such as Verizon FiOS and Google Fiber to build an ultra high speed broadband network We need a large number of consumption of fiber products.
The thickness of the hair Glass Fiber optical pulse transmission, which transmit information faster than the general rate of copper electronic pulse is much higher. However, the effect of fiber transmission effect is limited due to the poor quality of the glass.
Under the influence of gravity, fiber glass made on earth will be mixed into some impurities and the formation of micro crystal . These impurities will cause scattering and absorption loss, so that the quality of the fiber decreased, and further lead to long-distance transmission data The resulting signal is weakened and brought a series of other problems.
Although it is too early to talk about the quantitative comparison, however the company has begun to believe that microgravity in the field of communication optical response time and data throughput are more advantages than the existing fiber products.
The CEO Andrew Rush space manufacturing company said: our space manufacturing activities will also produce the commercial value of the products, great development of this exploration will soon promote space commercial activities, maybe one day there will be a large outbreak of space economic prosperity.
The manufacturing company has specialized in the manufacture of optical fiber and laser devices and the Thorlabs company to achieve cooperation, the two sides together in the international space station production test of the first batch of fiber in microgravity, and the earth will further test. If the test results meet expectations, so the space manufacturing company will further expand the scale of production.
Andrew Rush said: we in the field of space optical fiber manufacturing technology manufacturing technology and Thorlabs cooperation, in order to rapidly develop the microgravity environment of high quality fiber production, and further to the existing and new markets.
It is reported that the space manufacturing company plans to station 100 meters long fiber in international space. Although it sounds promising microgravity fiber, we have to wait for the test results back to earth the first batch of finished products, and the need to wait for at least a years time.