NASA has tested a rocket engine injector produced by 3D printing as part of a public-private partnership initiative that seeks to explore cost-effective approaches to building space hardware.
The agency will make test data publicly available through the Marshall Space Flight Center’s materials and processes information system database, NASA said Tuesday.
During the engine firing trials, the injector supplied liquid oxygen and hydrogen into the rocket’s combustion chamber and produced a record 20,000 pounds of thrust.
“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 project’s lead engineer.
Barnett added the technology could be used in NASA’s Space Launch System engines or rocket components being developed by private companies.
Austin-based Directed Manufacturing Inc. built the component, which has fewer parts and requires less assembly effort compared with existing injectors, according to the space agency.
NASA partnered with Moffett Field, Calif.-based Made in Space to create a 3-D printer that is intended to print equipment for the International Space Station.