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record 20,000 pounds of thrust was generated as part of a NASA rocket test. The test is important in part because of the efforts of NASA to reduce the costs associated with space hardware. The launch involved the largest 3-D printed rocket tested to date.
The actual component tested during the rocket engine firing was the injector. The injector delivers propellants to the engines on a rocket. The injector provides what is called thrust. Thrust is required to actually send a rocket upward and into space.
During the rocket test, gaseous hydrogen as well as liquid oxygen passed through the injector. From the injector, the combination went into the combustion chamber. The net result was 10 times more thrust than any other injector managed to produce using 3-D printing.
According to NASA, this successful test brings the space agency much closer to proving that certain types of innovative technology was to be utilized to reduce the costs of space hardware. Saving money remains a priority for the agency during challenging economic times.
The injector itself was manufactured utilizing what is known as selective laser melting. The method builds up layers of nickel-chromium alloy powder. The injector may be used as part of the Mars exploration program in the future.
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