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3D-Printed Rocket Parts Excel in NASA Tests

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posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 12:19 PM

Key rocket parts built using 3D-printing technology have passed another round of NASA firing tests, inspiring further confidence among space agency officials in this emerging manufacturing technique.

Rocket parts created using a 3D printer were successfully tested and were proven to be similar to rocket parts not created by a 3D printer. Which has inspired NASA to use 3D printing in the future.

"The additive manufacturing process has the potential to reduce the time and cost associated with making complex parts by an order of magnitude," Singer said.

Which reduces prices and time in creating the parts and what not.

I find this to be amazing and I would love for NASA to use 3D printing to their advantage and reinvent space exploration.


posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 12:28 PM
Although I am excited at all of the possibilities and potential of this exciting (relatively) new technology. I am weary of this technology in its current state. From the few demonstrations of applicable 3D printing I have seen (ie. the firearm that failed after a few rounds), it has to be significantly improved prior to being implemented in cost extensive programs associated with space exploration. As always, when it comes to progress and innovation of developing technological advancements, I am sure in due time this will be achieved. In the meanwhile, I would recommend being cautiously optimistic and not push this technology to its bounds just yet (ie. avoiding manned missions utilizing 3D printed parts for at least a couple decades).
edit on 7/27/2013 by Pistoche because: Fixing errors and typos.

posted on Jul, 27 2013 @ 12:45 PM
At the same time, however, the potential possibilities of this technology are vast. Think about it like this;

A crew of astronauts are in the space station at the time of some kind of collision with the ISS. Perhaps it was small, but a significant piece of equipment was badly damaged and they need a fix now. Imagine it was a part in the oxygen supply system. Well, instead of waiting for a spare part to be flown up and then utilized, they can (depending on the size of the part) print it out in space and install it much more quickly!

Not to mention the printing of new tools and etc. on the space station.

However, this kind of thing can also go incredibly wrong.

Two examples;

If there is an Internet Connection and someone manages to hack into the default setup of that printer, causing it to go ever so slightly askew, in a way not noticeable to the human eye, what happens when that faulty part is installed? Further damage cause?

Another possibility (very highly unlikely) is that someone prints up a firearm/weapon in space and hijacks the ISS (again, possible, but highly unlikely).

Regardless, I think it is an exciting new avenue for technology and design and I cannot wait to see where it takes us!


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