The rocket engine part works to send propellant into the engine and two injectors produced 20,000 pounds of thrust during the testing at NASA’s Huntsville, Alabama-based Marshall Space Flight Center, the agency said Friday.
“We wanted to go a step beyond just testing an injector and demonstrate how 3-D printing could revolutionize rocket designs for increased system performance,” said Chris Singer, director of the Marshall Center’s engineering directorate.
“The parts performed exceptionally well during the tests,” he added.
NASA engineers built the injector with 40 individual spray elements by fusing layered metal powder with a laser using a 3-D printer.
The agency also collaborated with Valencia, California-based Solid Concepts and Directed Manufacturing of Austin, Texas, to print each injector.
“We are working with industry to learn how to take advantage of additive manufacturing in every stage of space hardware construction from design to operations in space,” said Jason Turpin, Marshall Center propulsion engineer.