Aerojet Rocketdyne entered into a Space Act Agreement with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center to design and manufacture a lightweight rocket engine thrust chamber assembly using additive manufacturing processes and materials. The goal of the project is to reduce manufacturing costs and make a thrust chamber that is easily scalable to support a variety of missions, including America’s return to the Moon and subsequent missions to explore Mars.
Aerojet Rocketdyne will use a combination of 3D printing technologies — including solid state deposition and laser deposition. The vertical integration of these robotic additive manufacturing techniques is expected to yield a scalable design that could be applied to propulsion systems ranging from small systems that would support a lunar lander, all the way up to large boosters that enable launch vehicles to escape Earth’s gravity.
“As we look to the future of space exploration, efficiency and scalability will be key, which is why we are excited to work with NASA on this innovative thrust chamber for rocket engines,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. “The technology we develop will leverage the most advanced additive manufacturing techniques and materials to help provide efficient and safe transportation to and through space.