Spider-Like Robot that Fixes Holes on Airships

The spider is designed to crawl through the envelope of airships to help repair holes.


Developed by Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works, one half of the devices is found on the external, and the other half on the internal

At first look, it seems like a spider just crawling over airships, like a pest. Until it sheds light, that actually signals something, one can think the spider is a special device. Well, it is.

The spider is designed to crawl through the envelope of airships to help repair holes. Developed by Lockheed Martin’s Skunk Works, one half of the devices is found on the external, and the other half on the internal. Both move as a pair. The outside shines a light, which when passes over a hole, will be detected by the inside half for it to put on a patch.


Source: Lockheed Martin

Their makers call them a “Self-Propelled Instrument for airship Damage Evaluation and Repair,” which is a long term for spider. Their function is critical since the envelope of the airship should be airtight to optimize efficiency. The spider can detect the smallest of holes.

To fix such holes before require manually searching over the surface to find them and repair them by hand. That wouldn’t be the case anymore.


Source: Lockheed Martin

One would ask, “why would Lockheed Martin, being one of the world’s most advanced aerospace and military contractors, develop such device when the airships are no longer prevalent?” Well, the company believes that a new “hybrid” airship design could be perfect for specific tasks in the future.

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Emmanuel Stalling
Emmanuel Stalling is software engineer, technical writer, online philosopher, aspiring novelist, part-time ninja, and fan of hard science fiction. Based in Charlotte, NC, USA.

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Spider-Like Robot that Fixes Holes on Airships

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