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Producing glass in space could overcome gravity-induced defects in optical fibres

Rocket launch and close up of glass made in zero gravity

Northrop Grumman’s Cygnus spacecraft, atop a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, heads to the ISS on 30 January 2024, above left. Zblan produced in microgravity (middle) and Zblan produced in normal gravity (right). Optical fibre produced during the experiments will be examined after its return to Earth (Images: Nasa; SpaceX)

Being able to manufacture fluoride glass optical fibres effectively could revolutionise optical communications. A new mission is testing the ability to do so

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