Tuesday, August 27, 2013

NASA Tests Revolutionary New Rocket Engine Component

On Aug. 22 NASA fired a new rocket engine that in many ways a milestone for one of many important advances the agency is making to reduce the cost of space hardware.  

The engine in question was capable of generating a record setting 20,000 pounds of thrust. which in many ways was 10 times more thrust than many previous components were able to deliver before.  

One component in particular that NASA was monitoring was a special injector that was responsible for delivering propellants to the engine's combustion chamber.  

The test injector passed with flying colors which caused a great deal of excitement.  The reason for the interest was the process by which the injector was manufactured.  The innovating process is called additive manufacturing, or 3-D printing which is hoped to bring about new and more cost-effective manufacturing processes in the agency.  

  • The component was manufactured using selective laser melting. This method built up layers of nickel-chromium alloy powder to make the complex, subscale injector with its 28 elements for channeling and mixing propellants. The part was similar in size to injectors that power small rocket engines. It was similar in design to injectors for large engines, such as the RS-25 engine that will power NASA's Space Launch System (SLS) rocket for deep space human missions to an asteroid and Mars.
Pic is of a Shuttle rs-25 main engine being test fired. 

full article here


kallamis said...

Hmm, how did I miss this one. I've been trying to keep up with the injector tests and I missed a biggy here. Last I heard they weren't quite ready for a full engine test. Oh well, schedule moved faster than they said I guess. Cool. Now lets get something built already, and stop using others rockets that may or may not get off the bleeding launch pad.

Beam Me Up said...

I am all over that sentiment!