US space agency NASA has successfully conducted tests on its most complicated3D-printed rocket engine components, ever designed by the agency, at its Marshall Space Flight Center located in Huntsville, Alabama.
The additive manufacturing technique will allow the engineers to test faster and smarter rocket injector with a unique design apart from building and testing them, NASA said in a statement.
The US space agency used selective laser melting for making the rocket engine parts. The lasers allowed the designs to enter into the printer of the 3D computer.
According to the scientists, each part of the rocket engine was developed by layering metal powder along with their fusion with a laser.
“We wanted to go a step beyond just testing an injector and demonstrate how 3D-printing could revolutionize rocket designs for increased system performance,” said Chris Singer, director of Marshall Space Flight Center’s engineering directorate.
While talking about the test outcomes, Singer said that the engine parts performed exceptionally well.
NASA in another statement said that the space agency will develop and assemble 163 individual parts using the traditional manufacturing methods.
Only two parts were required for the rocket engine with 3-D printing technology, the statement added.
The design helped the engineers to speedily and economically built highly reliable parts which can improve the rocket engine performance to a greater extent.
Jason Turpin, Marshall propulsion engineer, said, “One of our goals is to collaborate with a variety of companies and establish standards for this new manufacturing process.”
The injector was printed with 40 individual elements built as a single component rather than constructed individually. The rocket engine injector shared similar design of the injectors used in large engines including the RS-25 engine, which will be used in the Space Launch System (SLS).