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In a new boost for 3-D printing, NASA has successfully tested a rocket engine that was built using a 3-D printer injector component. During the test on Aug. 22, the engine delivered 20,000 pounds of thrust and the injector passed its test. NASA hopes that 3-D printing can melt the cost of some expensive rocket parts by one half.
The part used was an injector which passes liquid oxygen and hydrogen to the engine. NASA scientists designed the injector which was built by Directed Manufacturing in Austin, TX.
In addition to the rocket parts, NASA is also plans other uses for the 3D technology.
This hot-fire test is designed to test how components withstand temperatures up to 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit and extreme pressures.
Image credit: NASA/MSFC/NASA/David Olive
Propulsion systems engineer Greg Barnett gets the 3-D rocket injector ready for a hot fire test at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. This particular 9.5-inch injector is about half the size of the one that's expected to be used in NASA's RS-25 engine. It was made with just two pieces whereas a similar injector made with traditional welding has 115 pieces.
Image credit: NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given