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The knitting robot is of modular construction, thus if a part of the robot fails the damaged portion can be exchanged for a back up module waiting in orbit. As a combined unit the robot is joined in two halves, at one side by a hinge.  On the opposite side a locking mechanism keeps the two halves firmly closed.  This arrangement allows the knitting robot to be wrapped around ring shaped balloons.

Knitting Machine

When the command to begin is sent, the knitting robot slowly moves around the ring shaped balloon, laying down the woven carbon fiber fabric behind it as it moves along.

Knitting Machine

As the carbon fiber fabric is woven around the balloon, sprayers apply an appropriate amount of epoxy resin onto the fabric.  The epoxy resin is absorbed into the carbon fiber in the vacuum of space and hardens creating a tough, defect free, durable composite material stronger than steel.

Knitting Machine

The drive wheels of the knitting robot are spring loaded to maintain firm contact with the hardened composite material.  The thermal control area maintains whatever temperature is desired to produce an optimal cure of the composite material by the time the drive wheels make contact with it.  The sprayers apply epoxy resin to the carbon fabric as it is laid down over the balloon.  The guide wheels are lightly spring loaded to make gentle contact with the balloon.

As the carbon fiber fabric is laid down the robot advances until it has traveled several times around the ring shaped balloon.  This builds up a thickness of successive layers of composite material.  The knitting robot travels around the ring shaped balloon as many times as are necessary to build up the desired thickness.  At which point a cutter cuts the fabric from the ring.  Then the knitting robot is unlocked and unwrapped from the ring and sent to another location to begin another project.  It is conceivable that the knitting robot could operate 24 hrs. a day 365 days a year with interruptions occurring only during the time it takes to maneuver to the next project.  Something no human could ever do in space!

Once the ring is completed, totally self contained and independent thruster modules launched from the ground are glued to the ring at four equidistant locations with epoxy resin.  These modules would carry their own propellant tanks and be used to induce the desired rotation to simulate gravity.  In addition airlocks are glued to the exterior to permit human entry or docking.  Once the airlock is attached an astronaut would be required to enter the airlock and close the hatch behind him, at which point he would use a cutting tool to cut a hole in the exterior of the space station from is inside the airlock.  Once this is completed human entry is possible.  Because the balloon is inflated with air, a breathable atmosphere is waiting to be used.

 

 

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