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Robots & Machines

To Boost Internet Speeds, We’re Making Optical Fibers…In Space

When you want to do something better, do it in space.

Jelor GallegoJuly 24th 2016

A popular goal right now is making things that boost internet speeds. Satellites, drones, new material—basically everything is being tapped to make our surfing of the net even faster. But one company has an ace up it’s sleeve: The International Space Station.

Made In Space, the company that owns and operates a 3D printer on the International Space Station, has announced that it is embarking on a new project: Making optical fibers. In space.

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Made in Space

Several companies, like Google Fiber, offer faster internet speeds by using fine, hair-like glass fibers with pulses of light. But this is limited by imperfections in the glass, such as  certain glass impurities and micro-crystal formations.

The company hopes that a by making a “microgravity-optimized, miniature fiber drawing system,” they can make better glass that offers better response time compared to traditional optical fiber.

To test this theory, the company will use their ISS facility to produce at least 100 meters of optical fiber, and then wait until that initial batch of fiber comes back down to Earth next year.

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