Research, engineering and manufacturing firm COSM Advanced Manufacturing Systems LLC, Massachusetts, USA, has been selected to design an Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) system for an in-space autonomous assembly program. The work will be funded by a contract from NASA’s Langley Research Center in partnership with Orbital ATK, NASA’s Glenn Research Center, and the US Naval Research Laboratory.
Under NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate, COSM will join a team of companies in a public-private partnership to establish a ‘Commercial Infrastructure for Robotic Assembly and Services’ (CIRAS) in space.
The CIRAS programme aims to advance key technologies for the in-orbit Additive Manufacturing (3D Printing) and assembly of large space structures that will help the agency meet its goals for robotic and human exploration of the solar system.
“The assembly and fabrication of structures in space under autonomous robotic control, is of course extremely challenging,” stated Richard Comunale, Founder and President of COSM. “Our effort focuses on development of the electron gun and optics and beam control and metrology systems for this application. We are excited and proud of the opportunity to bring our unique expertise to this project.”
This effort builds on COSM’s collaboration with NASA Langley Research Center’s Electron Beam Free Form Fabrication (EBF3) program, which uses focused electron beams to perform metal Additive Manufacturing with materials critical to the space and aerospace industry, including titanium, Inconel and aluminium.
Under this collaboration, COSM has developed enabling technology for an advanced EBAM system. This new approach provides in-situ metrology and adaptive process control for end users in large space, aerospace and commercial applications.