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NASA uses a Variable-Power Handheld Laser Torch for their welding in space operations and fixing things in orbit. I've got several questions about this system.

  • Is this system currently available/in use on the ISS?
  • According to the description it uses a "Fiber Laser". Does this mean the Laser module is separate and connected to the "torch" with a fiber optic tether?
  • What type of power requirements does this Laser have?

  • How do you weld with it? Do you hold the laser in one hand and feed in a stick of metal with the other? Does it automatically feed the welding metal like a MIG welder?

  • Can this torch be used in pressurized and pressurized environments?

Bonus:

  • Are there any videos of it in use?
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  • $\begingroup$ Do you have any evidence to support your assertion that this tool is used in space? $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Feb 23 '18 at 13:00
  • $\begingroup$ I couldn't find much information in general about this topic, that's why I'm asking. I did however find this source awo.aws.org/2015/07/welding-in-space where they seem to indicate that it was made to repair space shuttle engine components. $\endgroup$ – Dragongeek Feb 23 '18 at 13:05
  • $\begingroup$ Space shuttle engine components were not repaired in space. $\endgroup$ – Organic Marble Feb 23 '18 at 13:06
  • $\begingroup$ The article says nothing about it being used in space, it was used for ground repairs of the shuttle. $\endgroup$ – GdD Feb 23 '18 at 13:38
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Amada Miyachi supplied a laser unit to NASA during development of this technology, and NASA now uses 3 of these systems:

NASA deployed three complete laser and optical beam delivery systems to the shuttle repair facilities at Huntsville Alabama Marshall Space Flight Center, Stennis Mississippi, and Kennedy Space Flight Center in Florida.

The laser unit weighs 400 kg and requires water cooling. Peak power input is 17 kW. The torch is connected to this unit via a fiberoptic cable.

This does not look like a system designed for use in space.

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  • $\begingroup$ For reference, a normal power outlet in the US is limited to 2.4kW (120V * 20A) $\endgroup$ – OrangePeel52 Feb 24 '18 at 20:29
  • $\begingroup$ But damn, that sounds like a totally bada** system. $\endgroup$ – zeta-band Sep 10 '18 at 22:12

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