NASA Prints Rocket Parts.

You know I am a fan of 3D printing, but this is a first.

Using a 3D printer, NASA has printed part of a rocket engine that generated a record 20,000 pounds of thrust.  This could significantly reduce the costs for space missions.  The ability to print parts on demand would reduce the cost of manufacturing for some of the components used.

The component tested during the engine firing, an injector, delivers propellants to power an engine and provides the thrust necessary to send rockets to space. During the injector test, liquid oxygen and gaseous hydrogen passed through the component into a combustion chamber and produced 10 times more thrust than any injector previously fabricated using 3-D printing.

“This successful test of a 3-D printed rocket injector brings NASA significantly closer to proving this innovative technology can be used to reduce the cost of flight hardware,” said Chris Singer, director of the Engineering Directorate at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville Ala.

The component was manufactured using selective laser melting. This method buids up layers of nickel-chromium alloy powder to make the complex  injector with 28 elements for channeling and mixing propellants.

I reported earlier that NASA was looking to 3D printing to provide food for long space travels.

It looks like 3D printing will be our poor man’s version of transporter technology until someone gets around to making one of those.

– Ex astris, scientia –

I am and avid amateur astronomer and intellectual property attorney in Pasadena, California and I am a Rising Star as rated by Super Lawyers Magazine.  As a former Chief Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy, I am a proud member of the Armed Service Committee of the Los Angeles County Bar Association working to aid all active duty and veterans in our communities. Connect with me on Google +