Technology

NASA’s space fabric

Raul Polit Casillas grew up in the fabrics, as his mother was a fashion designer in Spain. The young man has always been wondering about how cloths are used in high sewing, a passion he retained even as a system engineer at NASA’s notorious Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California. And so he and his team are designing innovative metal woven fabrics for use in Space!

“Fabrics” have great practical value as they can be used for antennas and other folding devices, as their material is flexible and can change shapes as desired. Even as a shield of space vehicles against meteorites, can be used,  also for astronauts’ uniforms.

Their uses are not stopping here, as they have been proposed for everything: from collecting objects from the surface of other planets to insulating the spaceships against the ice! The original fabrics of Polit Casillas and his associates reminisce of armor of other times, although they are not made by human hand.

Instead, they are printed by 3D printers in one piece through state-of-the-art technology. “We call it ” 4D printing ”, says Casillas, ‘because we can print both the geometry and the function of these materials. If the construction of the 20th century was characterized by mass production, then that is the mass production of functions. ”

The Jet Propulsion Laboratory is not just trying to test these materials in Space sometime in the future, but to be able to build them up there. And it is so practical that the capabilities of the flexible metallic fabric all seem to be stronger. “We just scratch the surface of the potential,” says JPL’s Andrew Shapiro-Scharlotta, whose field of responsibility finances state-of-the-art research into technologies such as his colleague’s space fabric