With the help of 3D printing, NASA can manufacture as many parts of an engine as possible as well as save money and time.
FREMONT, CA: 3D printing is one of those technologies that's custom-made for NASA and the space program. NASA was one of the earliest adopters of additive manufacturing in the 1980s. In 2014, the International Space Station's first and foremost 3D printer made the first additive-manufactured part in space.
Let us look at some 3D printing initiatives taken by NASA:
Printing Parts of Spacecrafts
Project Archinaut from Made In Space is developing additive manufacturing technology to build large-scale structures in space. By carrying out the building in orbit, creating and assembling components and structures avoid the shape, size, and take-off restrictions needed to be launched from Earth's surface. In 2019, NASA offered Made In Space a $73.7 million contract to demonstrate that a small satellite, namely Archinaut One, can manufacture and assemble components in space. Utilizing Archinaut additive manufacturing technology can help generate fivefold more power than pre-assembled panels' smaller surface area and reduce launch costs.
Liquid-Fuel Rocket Engines' Components Manufacturing
One of the biggest share of profits on investment NASA gains from additive manufacturing is liquid-fuel rocket engine components that are being utilized to launch rockets to space. Before the advent of additive manufacturing, it took a hefty amount of money and hundreds of parts that required thorough investigations to build an engine traditionally. Thus, with the help of 3D printing, NASA can manufacture as many parts of an engine as possible as well as save money and time.
A Martian or Lunar Home Printing Companion
NASA is working on using what-will-be-local resources since its proposed mission to the Moon. NASA is trying to print habitats with simulated versions of regolith which is a close replica of what has been found on the Moon and Mars. NASA summoned external groups to demonstrate this possibility with their multi-phase 3D-Printed Habitat Challenge.
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