NASA Tests 3D-Printed Rocket Component

  • Sep 3, 2013 8:53pm GMT

NASA's first time testing 3D-printed rocket parts was successful at the Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL.

The 3D-printed injector was the largest component produced using 3D printing technology to undergo a "hot fire" test, and NASA says it performed "flawlessly."

Injectors feed and mix the propellants that power the rocket engines into space.

While many are familiar with the 3D printers that are becoming increasingly popular using plastic to make objects, NASA's used what is called "selective laser melting" that fuses together layers of nickel-chromium alloy powder.

The injector used in this test was intended for use in smaller rockets, however NASA says that the technology will scale up for use in rockets such as the RS-25, which will power the Space Launch System (SLS) into orbit and, eventually, deep space.

Photo courtesy NASA.