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SpaceX Launches 3D-Printed Part to Space, Creates Printed Engine Chamber #3DxSpace #3DPMetal #3DThursday #3DPrinting

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SpaceX Launches 3D-Printed Part to Space, Creates Printed Engine Chamber:

Through 3D printing, or additive manufacturing, robust and high-performing rocket parts can be created and offer improvements over traditional manufacturing methods. SpaceX is pushing the boundaries of what additive manufacturing can do in the 21st century, ultimately making the Falcon 9 rocket and Dragon spacecraft more reliable, robust and efficient than ever before.

On January 6, 2014, SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket with a 3D-printed Main Oxidizer Valve (MOV) body in one of the nine Merlin 1D engines. The mission marked the first time SpaceX had ever flown a 3D-printed part, with the valve operating successfully with high pressure liquid oxygen, under cryogenic temperatures and high vibration.

Compared with a traditionally cast part, a printed valve body has superior strength, ductility, and fracture resistance, with a lower variability in materials properties. The MOV body was printed in less than two days, compared with a typical castings cycle measured in months. The valve’s extensive test program – including a rigorous series of engine firings, component level qualification testing and materials testing – has since qualified the printed MOV body to fly interchangeably with cast parts on all Falcon 9 flights going forward…. 

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