Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Space Travel News .




ROCKET SCIENCE
NASA Tests Limits of 3-D Printing with Powerful Rocket Engine Check
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Aug 28, 2013


A 3-D printed rocket part blazes to life during a hot-fire test. Image Credit: NASA/MSFC/David Olive.

The largest 3-D printed rocket engine component NASA ever has tested blazed to life Thursday, Aug. 22 during an engine firing that generated a record 20,000 pounds of thrust.

This test is a milestone for one of many important advances the agency is making to reduce the cost of space hardware. Innovations like additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing, foster new and more cost-effective capabilities in the U.S. space industry.

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, the 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 built up layers of nickel-chromium alloy powder to make the complex, subscale injector with its 28 elements for channeling and mixing propellants. The part was similar in size to injectors that power small rocket engines. It was similar in design to injectors for large engines, such as the RS-25 engine that will power NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for deep space human missions to an asteroid and Mars.

"This entire effort helped us learn what it takes to build larger 3-D parts -- from design, to manufacturing, to testing," said Greg Barnett, the lead engineer for the project. "This technology can be applied to any of SLS's engines, or to rocket components being built by private industry."

One of the keys to reducing the cost of rocket parts is minimizing the number of components. This injector had only two parts, whereas a similar injector tested earlier had 115 parts. Fewer parts require less assembly effort, which means complex parts made with 3-D printing have the potential for significant cost savings.

"We took the design of an existing injector that we already tested and modified the design so the injector could be made with a 3-D printer," explained Brad Bullard, the propulsion engineer responsible for the design of the injector. "We will be able to directly compare test data for both the traditionally assembled injector and the 3-D printed injector to see if there's any difference in performance."

Early data from the test, conducted at pressures up to 1,400 pounds per square inch absolute and at almost 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit, indicate the injector worked flawlessly. In the days to come, engineers will perform computer scans and other inspections to scrutinize the component more closely.

The injector was made by Directed Manufacturing Inc., of Austin, Texas, but NASA owns the injector design. NASA will make the test and materials data available to all U.S. companies through the Materials and Processes Information System database managed by Marshall's materials and processes laboratory.

NASA seeks to advance technologies such as 3-D printing to make every aspect of space exploration more cost-effective. This test builds on prior hot-fire tests conducted with smaller injectors at Marshall and at NASA's Glenn Research Center in Cleveland. Marshall engineers recently completed tests with Made in Space, a Moffett Field, Calif., company working with NASA to develop and test a 3-D printer that will soon print tools for the crew of the International Space Station. NASA is even exploring the possibility of printing food for long-duration space missions.

NASA is a leading partner in the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation and the Advanced Manufacturing Initiative, which explores using additive manufacturing and other advanced materials processes to reduce the cost of spaceflight. For more information about the National Network for Manufacturing Innovation, visit here.

.


Related Links
National Network for Manufacturing Innovation
Rocket Science News at Space-Travel.Com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





ROCKET SCIENCE
Japan suspends satellite rocket launch at last minute
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 27, 2013
Japan suspended the launch of its next-generation solid-fuel rocket on Tuesday just seconds before lift-off after engineers discovered a technical glitch. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) had planned to launch the Epsilon rocket from the Uchinoura Space Centre in Kagoshima, southwestern Japan, using just two laptop computers in a pared-down command centre. But the countdown was ... read more


ROCKET SCIENCE
Ariane 5 build-up is completed for Arianespace upcoming flight with EUTELSAT

Russian rocket engine export ban could halt US space program

The go-ahead is given for Ariane 5 mission to orbit EUTELSAT 25B/Es'hail 1 and GSAT-7

Arianespace Launches EUTELSAT 25B/Es'hail 1 and GSAT 7

ROCKET SCIENCE
We may all be Martians

Mars Curiosity Debuts Autonomous Navigation

Scouting a Boulder Field

ASA Mars Rover Views Eclipse of the Sun by Phobos

ROCKET SCIENCE
NASA Prepares for First Virginia Coast Launch to Moon

NASA Selects Launch Services Contract for OSIRIS-REx Mission

Environmental Controls Move Beyond Earth

Bad night's sleep? The moon could be to blame

ROCKET SCIENCE
New Horizons - Late in Cruise, and a Binary Ahoy

Pluto Science Conference Exceeds Expectations

SciTechTalk: Grab your erasers, there are more moons than we thought

NASA Hubble Finds New Neptune Moon

ROCKET SCIENCE
Waking up to a new year

Study: Planets might be 'born free' without a parent star

Distant planet sets speed record by orbiting its star every 8.5 hours

Kepler planet hunter spacecraft is beyond repair: NASA

ROCKET SCIENCE
Japan suspends satellite rocket launch at last minute

NASA Tests Limits of 3-D Printing with Powerful Rocket Engine Check

NASA Continues Preparation for SLS Engine Testing at Stennis

Flights of Fancy

ROCKET SCIENCE
China to launch lunar lander by end of year: media

China launches three experimental satellites

Medical quarantine over for Shenzhou-10 astronauts

China's astronauts ready for longer missions

ROCKET SCIENCE
Comet ISON to fly by Mars

'Trojan' asteroids in far reaches of solar system more common than previously thought

NASA Releases New Imagery of Asteroid Mission

Asteroid named after sci-fi's Alejandro Jodorowsky




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement