Today’s innovations in science and technology are being driven by new capabilities in additive manufacturing. Also known as 3-D printing, this approach is changing the speed, cost and flexibility of designing and building future machines for space and earth applications.
NASA’s Game Changing Development Program in the Space Technology and Mission Directorate has been actively funding research in 3-D printing and co-funded a recent groundbreaking test series with Aerojet Rocketdyne (AR) at NASA’s Glenn Research Center. Recently, AR in partnership with NASA, successfully completed the first hot-fire tests on an advanced rocket engine thrust chamber assembly using copper alloy materials. This was the first time a series of rigorous tests confirmed that 3-D manufactured copper parts could withstand the heat and pressure required of combustion engines used in space launches.