3D printing to help astronauts reach the moon for the first time since 1972

The Manufacturer | April 25, 2019

3D printing to help astronauts reach the moon for the first time since 1972
NASA engineers are using 3D printing techniques to insulate delicate parts of its new deep space rocket that plans to take astronauts to the moon for the first time in almost half a century. The Space Launch System (SLS) will be the most powerful rocket NASA has ever built. When completed, it will reportedly enable astronauts to begin their journey to explore destinations far into the solar system. As with any high value application destined for space, the rocket must be able to endure extreme conditions and temperatures when it is launched into orbit—3D printed moulds could help achieve this vital resistance.
In collaboration with Boeing, the duo are developing a more efficient way to apply its thermal protection system on to the new rocket to ensure it can withstand the extreme environments. The process of applying thermal protection to the Space Launch System (and other similar rockets) consists of using spray-on foam to encase the rocket’s components. This helps to protect it from heat during the launch and simultaneously keep the rocket’s propellant cold within tanks.

Spotlight

The importance of metrology - the science of measurement - to manufacturing industry is largely underestimated, except by engineers. Sir Joseph Whitworth, the 19th Century inventor of early measurement standards, said: “You can only make something well if you can measure it.” To offer a small qualification, perhaps, you can only make something well repeatedly, if you can measure it.

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Spotlight

The importance of metrology - the science of measurement - to manufacturing industry is largely underestimated, except by engineers. Sir Joseph Whitworth, the 19th Century inventor of early measurement standards, said: “You can only make something well if you can measure it.” To offer a small qualification, perhaps, you can only make something well repeatedly, if you can measure it.