Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .

NASA Installs Giant Composite Material Research Robot
by Staff Writers
Hampton VA (SPX) Nov 06, 2014

A huge crane from a local company barely had clearance to lift the ISAAC robot arm and set it down on the ground until technicians could install it on its track 40-foot long track. Image courtesy NASA/Gary Banziger. To watch a video on the technology please go here.

Kathy Barnstorff It looks like something out of a "Transformers" movie - a huge robotic arm that moves and spins to pick up massive heads filled with spools of carbon fibers, then moves in preprogrammed patterns to deposit those fibers onto a 40-foot long bed. But instead of transforming from machine to Autobot, it can transform epoxy and fibers into aerospace structures and parts.

NASA's Langley Research Center is in the process of setting up this advanced composite research capability that engineers are calling ISAAC for Integrated Structural Assembly of Advanced Composites. Just to get ISAAC to the Hampton, Virginia facility was a challenge financially and physically.

"We have worked for two years to obtain this precise robotic technology. But we proposed the idea more than six years ago," said structural mechanics engineer Chauncey Wu. "It will really make a difference in our ability to understand composite materials and processes for use in aviation and space vehicles."

Funding was one stumbling block. But Wu and his ISAAC project teammates Brian Stewart and Robert Martin were able to convince NASA Langley to provide about $1.4 million, the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate to kick in $1.1 million, and the Space Technology Mission Directorate and NASA Langley's Space Technology and Exploration Directorate contribute a combined $200,000 to the multi-million dollar system cost.

The other challenge was the actual physical move of the ISAAC system. The system is only one of three in the world manufactured by Electroimpact, Inc., headquartered in Mukilteo, Washington. The other two are used for bulk manufacturing of composites, not for research as NASA intends.

Two 53-foot long covered flatbed trucks made the trek all the way across country to bring the robot to NASA Langley in Hampton, Virginia. The trucks arrived at the crack of dawn, before most employees, because they were so large. Waiting for them was ISAAC's new home - a big empty space in NASA Langley's Advanced Manufacturing and Flight Test Articles Development Laboratory.

The robot is known for its precision work, but the choreography to place it inside the building had to be just as exact.

"We had to bring in a massive crane from a local company to lift ISAAC," said Stewart. "There were only inches of clearance between the crane and the ceiling as they moved the robot arm and set it on the floor."

A few weeks later the same crane returned to set the arm onto the track that it will use to lay down composite fibers. Technicians from Electroimpact still have a number of weeks to make sure all the electronics and pieces work so that ISAAC can begin doing the research that Langley engineers have been waiting to do.

Researchers plan to have ISAAC up and running by early 2015 with the first research customer the Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate's Advanced Composites Project (ACP).

The project is a public-private partnership that is geared toward reducing the amount of time and money it takes to bring new, advanced composites from test tube to vehicles.

The goal of the ACP is to reduce the time for development, verification, and regulatory acceptance of new composite materials and design methods. NASA will meet this objective through the development and use of high fidelity and rigorous computational methods, new test protocols, and new inspection techniques.

NASA's space projects also plan to use the ISAAC system in their research. The second project planned for the robot is --the Composites for Exploration Upper Stage (C-EUS) Project, a partnership between the Space Technology Mission Directorate and Human Exploration Mission Directorate that is led by the Marshall Space Flight Center.

The C-EUS Project is a 3-year effort to design, build, test and address flight certification of a large composite shell suitable for the second stage of the Space Launch System.

Langley's role in the C-EUS Project will be to lead the design, manufacture and testing of the shell's structural joints, as well as leading the overall structural and thermal analyses.


Related Links
NASA Langley Research Center
All about the robots on Earth and beyond!

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Penguin-bot is a happy feat for science
Paris (AFP) Nov 03, 2014
Brazenly, the down-covered baby penguin lookalike rolls in on four wheels for a huddle with real-life chicks, right under the noses of adult birds which seem to pay it no heed. The infiltration is for a good cause: the cute and fluffy robot is a remote-controlled spy designed by scientists wishing to monitor the skittish penguins without causing them stress. An international team tested ... read more

China gears up for lunar mission after round-trip success

China examines the three stages of lunar test run

NASA's LRO Spacecraft Captures Images of LADEE's Impact Crater

New lunar mission to test Chang'e-5 technology

Comet flyby of Mars changed chemistry of atmosphere: NASA

NASA's Curiosity Mars Rover Finds Mineral Match

MAVEN Continues Mars Exploration Begun 50 Years Ago by Mariner 4

You can't get to Mars, but your name can

Virgin Galactic could resume test flights in six months

Risk-taker Branson battles to protect Virgin brand

Orion Takes Big Step Before Moving to the Launch Pad

India to launch unmanned crew module in December

China to build global quantum communication network in 2030

China's Lunar Orbiter Makes Safe Landing, First in 40 Years

China's First Lunar Return Mission A Stunning Success

China completes first mission to moon and back

ISS Agency Heads Issue Joint Statement

International Space Station astronauts put GoPro camera in a floating ball of water

Station Trio Prepares for Departure amid Ongoing Science

Students text International Space Station using a 20-foot antenna

Japanese Satellites Orbited as Part of Russia-Ukraine Program

Spaceflight partners with JAMSS to loft 8 CubeSats on JAXA mission

India to test fly bigger space vehicle next month

Soyuz Installed at Baikonur, Expected to Launch Wednesday

NASA's Hubble Surveys Debris-Strewn Exoplanetary Construction Yards

Peering into Planetary Atmospheres

VLTI detects exozodiacal light

Yale finds a planet that won't stick to a schedule

French watchdog urges no 3D for under sixes

ESA space ferry moves ISS to avoid debris

Lockheed Martin partners for space debris research

EIAST and AUS launch UAE's first CubeSat Mission Nayif-1

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.