RS-25 Engine Test is Giant Step for 3-D Printing
STENNIS SPACE CENTER, Miss.,
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"This test demonstrates the viability of using additive manufacturing to produce even the most complex components in one of the world's most reliable rocket engines," said
During the 400-second test at NASA's
The pogo accumulator assembly consists of two components: the pogo accumulator and pogo-z baffle. Both were made using a 3-D printing technique called selective laser melting, which uses lasers to fuse metal powder into a pattern by adding layer upon layer of material to produce the part. On the pogo accumulator alone, the new manufacturing technique reduced the number of welds by 78 percent.
The SLS, designed to send astronauts and cargo to explore the moon and other deep space destinations, uses four
3-D printing can simplify production of many of the RS-25's thousands of parts and components; reducing costs and increasing reliability by cutting back on the number of pieces that must be welded together. Additionally, it shortens development timelines for components and enables enhanced flexibility in the designs.
The new 3-D-printed components were
installed and tested on a development engine that is used to test new technologies that are being incorporated into the RS-25 as part of the SLS program. Earlier this year, the company tested new flight controllers on the same development engine prior to incorporating them into the
Rocketdyne begins to build new RS-25 engines beyond its current inventory of 16 heritage shuttle engines, future RS-25 engines will feature dozens of additively-manufactured components," said
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