Aerojet Rocketdyne and NASA to produce rocket engine thrust chamber using AM
October 12, 2019
Aerojet Rocketdyne, Sacramento, California, USA, has entered into a Space Act Agreement with NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center to design and produce a lightweight rocket engine thrust chamber assembly using Additive Manufacturing. The company states that the aim of the project is to reduce manufacturing costs and create a thrust chamber that is easily scalable to support a variety of missions, including the USA’s return to the Moon and subsequent missions to explore Mars.
Aerojet Rocketdyne will use a combination of Additive Manufacturing technologies, including solid state deposition and laser deposition, to enable the rapid fabrication of complex components. The integration of these robotic AM techniques is expected to produce a scalable design that could be applied to propulsion systems ranging from small systems that would support a lunar lander, to large boosters that enable launch vehicles to escape Earth’s gravity.
The project is being facilitated by NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate through its Announcement of Collaborative Opportunity (ACO) initiative, which aims to reduce the development cost of technologies and accelerate the integration of emerging commercial capabilities into space missions.
“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,” stated Eileen Drake, Aerojet Rocketdyne’s CEO and President. “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.”