NASA's Langley Research Center (Hampton, VA, US) officially unveiled on Jan. 26 its new seven-ton, two-story tall automated fiber placement (AFP) machine. The unit, dubbed ISAAC (Integrated Structural Assembly of Advanced Composites), is an Electroimpact (Mukilteo, WA, US) machine, with 16-tow capability. It will be used by NASA Langley for research and development work
Commissioning the unit were Rep. Bobby Scott (D-VA), NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate acting deputy associate administrator Robert Pearce and NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate associate administrator Michael Gazarik.
NASA Langley says it is one of three places in the world now equipped with this particular technology. The other two systems are used for bulk manufacturing of lightweight composite materials for industry, not for research.
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The teams are still working on the design but the aircraft is expected to have a wingspan of about 3 feet and will be made of double ply, carbon fiber.