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 +


I See You!

Well, at least that is the hope.  Today, NASA launched the Nuclear Spectroscopic Telescope Array( NuStar) black-hole hunter into space.  As the name implies, a hunt’n for black holes we go.

NuSTAR images are expected to be “10 times crisper and a hundred times more sensitive than any we’ve had of the cosmos to date,” said Fiona Harrison, the principal investigator at the California Institute of Technology. “This will enable NuSTAR to study some of the hottest, densest, and most energetic phenomenon in the universe.”

“One of NuSTAR’s primary science goals is to study black holes (and) the extreme physics, the fascinating physics that occurs very close to the black hole where spacetime is severely distorted and particles are accelerated close to the speed of light,” Harrison said. “And also to understand how black holes are distributed throughout the universe.”

I think the coolest aspect is the use of the Pegasus XL rocket.  The Pegasus is launched from an aircraft, or more appropriately, dropped like a bomb.  Then, after a short delay, the booster rockets kick in and off to space they go.

This was the 31st launch of a Pegasus XL rocket.  Overall, Pegasus rockets have launched more than 70 satellites since 1990, with 27 successful missions in a row over the past 15 years.  They aren’t telling us what happened to the unsuccessful missions, but I am sure we can all guess:


Sometimes, I understand why NASCAR is so popular.

– Ex astris, scientia –


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