Manufacturing Innovation (MIP)

Made in Space CTO Jason Dunn (left) and P.I. of the 3DP Experiment Mike Snyder look to optimize the first 3D printer for space.

The Manufacturing Innovation project will focus on rapid prototyping for low-cost manufacturing including algorithm and software development for modeling and simulation to streamline the design to manufacturing pipeline.

The MIP project consists of two major elements. The goal of the first element is to develop and demonstrate the ability to fabricate high-quality, reliable, and certifiable parts using additive manufacturing (AM) processes for in space application.

Plans include developing enhanced physics-based modeling/simulation and autonomous finishing/inspection processes. For this activity, a functional part from the International Space Station ECLSS will be selected as the test case. Several of these parts will be fabricated using LaRC’s Electron Beam Freeform Fabrication system and MSFC’s Electron Beam Melting Rapid Prototyping system. The parts will undergo mechanical, structural, and load testing and fit checks, functional tests, and durability tests on the finished parts. Although the specimens will be fabricated on Earth in a gravity environment, the ultimate goal is to fabricate these parts in space using raw materials from planetary bodies, stock delivered from earth, or recycled materials used in space with minimal human involvement.

In addition, NASA engineers will design, build, and test a rocket engine injector using direct digital manufacturing processes such as laser sintering. Through a Space Act Agreement with Pratt and Whitney Rocketdyne, a subscale RL-10 injector with water cooled combustion chambers will be designed, fabricated using additive manufacturing processes, and tested for cold flow and hot-fire characterization.

As directed by OSTP and NASA, the second element of MIP is to establish a manufacturing partnership to support the National Midwest Project. A current national economic assessment of the Midwest has identified Cleveland, Ohio as a depressed city. The goal of this task is for GRC to develop public/private partnerships that include the government, industry, and academia, collaborate with contemporary federal/public/private initiatives in this area and support the development and implementation of Cleveland’s economic strategy.

Principal Technologist: Pete Lillehei (pete.lillehei@nasa.gov)

Project Manager: Carol Tolbert (carol.m.tolbert@nasa.gov)

NASA Boards the 3-D-Manufacturing Train

Given NASA’s unique needs for highly custom­ized spacecraft and instrument components, additive manufacturing, or “3-D printing,” offers a compelling alternative to more traditional manufacturing approaches. “We’re not driving the additive manufacturing train, industry is,” said Ted Swanson, the assistant chief for technology for the Mechanical Systems Division at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, […]

What’s 3D Printing?

Niki Werkheiser, lead investigator of the 3D printing in zero-gravity technical demonstration project at Marshall Space Flight Center, stands beside a protected 3D printer bound for the International Space Station in 2014. (Image credit: Lee Roop/LRoop@al.com) Some call it “additive manufacturing,” and some call it “3D printing.” Whatever you call it, the technique of building […]

NASA Successfully Tests First 3-D Printed Rocket Engine Injector

We’ve seen 3-D printed aircraft and drone parts, and even plans for a printable private jet. Now NASA has demonstrated another 3-D printing first: The agency has just finished successful tests of a 3-D printed rocket engine injector at the Glenn Research Center in Cleveland, Ohio, marking one of the first steps in using additive […]

NASA, Industry Test “3D Printed” Rocket Engine Injector

Liquid oxygen/gaseous hydrogen rocket injector assembly built using additive manufacturing technology is hot-fire tested at NASA Glenn Research Center’s Rocket Combustion Laboratory in Cleveland. Image Credit: NASA Glenn Research Center NASA and Aerojet Rocketdyne recently finished testing a rocket engine injector made through additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing. This space technology demonstration may lead to […]

3-D Printing: NASA’s Next Frontier

3-D printing in space will radically enable the space industry. Building parts, structures, and tools in space will not only reduce launch mass and size constraints, it will also enable the capability to build parts when needed, on-demand. Image credit: Made in Space NASA is looking to boldly take 3-D printing where no 3-D printer […]

3D Printer Launching to Space Station in 2014

A 3D printer is slated to arrive at the International Space Station next year, where it will crank out the first parts ever manufactured off planet Earth. The company Made in Space is partnering with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center on the 3D Printing in Zero G Experiment (or 3D Print for short), which aims to jump-start […]

Chief Technologist Mason Peck Attends MAGNET Event

On May 23, NASA, the City of Cleveland, Cuyahoga County and the Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network (MAGNET) announced nine small and medium-sized Ohio manufacturers that will receive NASA assistance to solve technical problems with new or existing products. Read More(+)

Supporting Local Communities by Building Capacity and Cutting Red Tape

President Barack Obama participates in the Presidential Daily Briefing in the Oval Office, May 6, 2013. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza) One year ago, the President established the White House Council on Strong Cities, Strong Communities (SC2) that established an innovative new model of federal-local collaboration dedicated to assisting communities get back on […]