(NASA materials engineer Nancy Tolliver, center, and Frank Ledbetter, right, materials and manufacturing division chief in the Engineering Directorate at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala., inspect three-dimensional hardware and parts fashioned in the National Center for Advanced Manufacturing Rapid Prototyping Facility at Marshall. | Image credit: NASA/MSFC/Emmett Given)

NASA uses 3D printing to build the next generation of rockets for Mars

Feb.23, 2013

At the NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center additive manufacturing is used to create parts for a next-generation rocket that will launch astronauts to the most distant destinations ever.

“Our team’s innovative work here at Marshall and the NASA National Center for Advanced Manufacturing is just one example of how NASA is helping to reinvigorate America’s manufacturing sector,” said NASA Administrator Charles Bolden. Obama wants to get humans to Mars by the mid 2030s, NASA needs to speed up the building process.

“As NASA pushes the boundaries of exploration, our use of innovative techniques will allow us to build parts for everything from satellites to spacecraft more quickly and more affordably.”

The emerging technology will build parts for America’s next flagship rocket, the Space Launch System or SLS, which is designed to take humans, equipment and experiments beyond low Earth orbit to nearby asteroids and eventually to Mars. Some of the “printed” engine parts will be structurally tested and used in hot-fire tests of a J-2X engine later this year. The J-2X will be used as the upper stage engine for the SLS.

There are two major benefits to this process, which are major considerations for the Space Launch System Program: savings and safety.

Read more: 3ders.org – NASA uses 3D printing to build the next generation of rockets for Mars | 3D Printer News & 3D Printing News.

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