NASA will 3D print rocket parts using metal powder and lasers

With the participation of private companies to an unprecedented degree, space exploration is likely to become a true golden age. And now NASA is testing 3D printing of rocket parts for future long-range flights.

The agency plans to use 3D printing for its future Artemis program. Through a project called Rapid Analysis and Manufacturing Propulsion Technology (RAMPT), the agency seeks to accelerate one specific type of 3D printing. This method allows a metal powder to be blown out of a metal powder when heated by a laser to a precise template to create any necessary part. In theory, everything from injectors to combustion chambers could be produced with this method, since there are practically no size restrictions – other than the size of the room in which they are created.

“Traditional nozzle manufacturing is a complex process and can be very time-consuming. Blown Powder ADD enables us to create very large-scale components with intricate intrinsic features that were previously not possible, ”explained Paul Gradl, co-founder of RAMPT at Space Flight Center. Marshall in Huntsville, Alabama.