recommended reading

3-D Printed Rocket Engines Could Make Space Travel Cheaper

Even if 3-D printing doesn’t change the economy, it has the potential to change manufacturing—making it cheaper and capable of producing better parts and products.

Now the NASA space agency and Aerojet Rocketdyne say they have successfully tested a rocket engine injector that was made using powerful lasers to “melt and fuse fine metallic powders into three-dimensional structures”—read, 3-D printing. Here’s what the test looks like in action:

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, Ohio.

According to the engineers behind the project, the test results matter because, unlike a lot of the basic structures created by 3-D printing, the components inside rocket engines must be machined to extremely exacting standards. If they can withstand the heat and pressure of burning rocket fuel while maintaining high performance, it’s a sign that the techniques behind 3-D printing can have major applications in all kinds of machining scenarios.

The best part, though, is that the new method cuts production time from one year to less than four months, and cuts costs by 70%. The injector is one of the most expensive parts of rocket engines. Reducing its cost through 3-D printing could help make space travel—and other pursuits dependent on costly, hard-to-make parts—a lot more viable.

The maturation of “additive manufacturing” is already generating benefits in similar sectors. CFM International, a major producer of commercial airline engines, uses 3-D printed components to improve the efficiency of its jet engines by as much as 15%.

Threatwatch Alert

Thousands of cyber attacks occur each day

See the latest threats

JOIN THE DISCUSSION

Close [ x ] More from Nextgov
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from Nextgov.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Featured Content from RSA Conference: Dissed by NIST

    Learn more about the latest draft of the U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology guidance document on authentication and lifecycle management.

    Download
  • PIV- I And Multifactor Authentication: The Best Defense for Federal Government Contractors

    This white paper explores NIST SP 800-171 and why compliance is critical to federal government contractors, especially those that work with the Department of Defense, as well as how leveraging PIV-I credentialing with multifactor authentication can be used as a defense against cyberattacks

    Download
  • Toward A More Innovative Government

    This research study aims to understand how state and local leaders regard their agency’s innovation efforts and what they are doing to overcome the challenges they face in successfully implementing these efforts.

    Download
  • From Volume to Value: UK’s NHS Digital Provides U.S. Healthcare Agencies A Roadmap For Value-Based Payment Models

    The U.S. healthcare industry is rapidly moving away from traditional fee-for-service models and towards value-based purchasing that reimburses physicians for quality of care in place of frequency of care.

    Download
  • GBC Flash Poll: Is Your Agency Safe?

    Federal leaders weigh in on the state of information security

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.