A team of researchers at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama has produced and tested 3-D printed parts of a rocket engine.
The rocket engine components such as valves, injectors and turbopumps produced a maximum thrust of 20,000 pounds during seven separate live-fire tests that used liquid oxygen and cryogenic liquid hydrogen as propellants, NASA said Dec. 18.
“We manufactured and then tested about 75 percent of the parts needed to build a 3-D printed rocket engine,” said Elizabeth Robertson, project manager for the additive manufacturing-based demonstrator engine at NASA MSFC.
“By testing the turbopumps, injectors and valves together, we’ve 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.”
MSFC plans to use methane and liquid oxygen as propellants in future engine tests.