NASA's 3D Printed Rocket Engine Nears Completion
NASA has been testing 3D printed rocket engine parts for the last three years. However, in a recent test, NASA seems to have inched closer to building an entire rocket engine, one that is capable of powering a Mars lander. This design has been achieved solely using the additive manufacturing techniques, reports NASA.
It is the coordinated job of injectors, turbo-pumps and valves to work together to help get a rocket inflight. These are 75% of the parts that are required to build a 3D-printed rocket engine. As per Fortune's previous report, these three parts have already been tested individually and have performed really well while demonstrating exceptional results. In a ne test that was conducted this month, the NASA team along with Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama connected all the parts, that were 3D printed, together so that they can work the same way as they do in an actual rocket engine. The 3D-printed engine of the rocket made from the 3D printed parts produced a thrust of 20,000 pounds that is required for a Mars lander and also tolerated temperatures of 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit, said Fortune.
"We manufactured and then tested about 75 percent of the parts needed to build a 3-D printed rocket engine," said Elizabeth Robertson, the project manager for the additively manufactured demonstrator engine at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama. "By testing the turbopumps, injectors and valves together, we've shown that it would be possible to build a 3-D printed engine for multiple purposes such as landers, in-space propulsion or rocket engine upper stages." The successful test is a big deal because it not only proves that 3-D printing is a viable technology in aerospace, but it allows NASA to explore more advanced space vehicle designs at a fraction of the cost. As a whole, it makes exploration missions more affordable," as reported by Techno Buffalo