NASA’s first Fully 3D Printed Rocket Engine nears completion

NASA’s first Fully 3D Printed Rocket Engine nears completion

American agency NASA’s scientists have been working on the first-ever 3D printed rocket engine, a development that has given a reason to cheer to space technology lovers. The scientists say their ambitious project is slowly inching towards completion.

The scientists associated with the project claim they have been successfully conducting trials on the rocket’s components, both of individual parts and all of them assembled together. In October, a number of tests were carried out at Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, which showed positive results. The rocket, it is learnt, is 75% complete.

The most recent trials saw the rocket engine getting fired using cryogenic liquid hydrogen and oxygen, which produced 20,000 pounds of thrust, resulting in a pretty impressive, fiery blast.

Project manager Elizabeth Robertson said, “We manufactured and then tested about 75% of the parts needed to build a 3-D printed rocket engine”.

Robertson said by testing the turbopumps, injectors and valves together, they had 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.

A factor that scientists have been gauging is whether the engine’s components worked in the same manner as those of a conventional engine, and are able to withstand the harsh conditions, including extremely high temperature and pressure.

Testing lead Nick Case said that in engineering lingo, such an engine was called a breadboard engine. “An engine like this could produce enough power for an upper stage of a rocket or a Mars lander”, he said.


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