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Space Construction


The balloons used to create the mandrels that give the structures their final shape are to be made of a very thin plastic, and packed in a deflated condition into a bundle like a parachute, so as to take up as little space as possible.  Then the balloon is either launched by rocket or put into the payload bay of the space shuttle.  When the vehicle reaches orbit, the package is placed outside and deployed in a geo-stationary orbit over the continental United States.

Inside each balloon is one or more bottles of liquefied air or high pressure compressed air.  Each bottle is opened by the actuation of a radio controlled valve.  When the radio controlled valve receives the proper signal it opens allowing the controlled discharge of compressed or liquefied air into the balloon until 14.7 psi is obtained.  At which time a pressure regulator closes the valve and continues to maintain 14.7 psi throughout construction.

Once the balloon is deployed the knitting robot is maneuvered into position with thruster modules that are attached to it.  Controlling this procedure can be done from a ground station via television cameras.  Once in position the knitting robot is  wrapped around the balloon, loaded robotically with a magazine of carbon thread bobbins, along with cartridges of epoxy resin.  Then the knitting robot is turned on and its automated programming uploaded from the ground.  While the upload is in progress the knitting robot loads and threads the bobbins through the robot in preparation for knitting.



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