Intuitive Machines lands IM-1 on Moon using Sciaky’s additively manufactured nozzle components

ApplicationsNews
June 11, 2024

June 11, 2024

Intuitive Machines rigorously tested the part under hot fire testing conditions, burning fuel up to the full throttle (Courtesy Intuitive Space/Sciaky)
Intuitive Machines rigorously tested the part under hot fire testing conditions, burning fuel up to the full throttle (Courtesy Intuitive Space/Sciaky)

An additively manufactured rocket nozzle component, produced by Sciaky Inc, Chicago, Illinois, USA, a subsidiary of Phillips Service Industries (PSI) Inc, has proven itself a critical part of Intuitive Machines’ recent IM-1 mission to the Moon. The part itself is the upper section of the main engine nozzle, which provides the main source of thrust for the landers descent.

The component was reported to be manufactured from an expensive, difficult-to-deposit refractory alloy on one of Sciaky’s wire-based electron beam Directed Energy Deposition (DED) Additive Manufacturing machines. It took the company sixteen hours to complete and, for testing, Sciaky produced two additional upper nozzle sections.

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Intuitive Machines rigorously tested these parts under hot fire testing conditions, burning fuel up to the full throttle. After the determination that the part was suitable for end-use, it was assembled into the Nova-C lunar lander, Odysseus, for the IM-1 mission. As a part of the main engine of the lunar lander, the Sciaky-made upper nozzle section was reported to have performed as required in the inhospitable environment of space.

Nozzle sections additively manufactured by Sciaky helped to propel Intuitive Space’s IM-1 lander engine  to the Moon (Courtesy Intuitive Space/Sciaky)
Nozzle sections additively manufactured by Sciaky helped to propel Intuitive Space’s IM-1 lander engine to the Moon (Courtesy Intuitive Space/Sciaky)

Sciaky’s DED technology, referred to by the company as EBAM (Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing), aims to provide manufacturers with a range of benefits, including reduced material waste, shorter lead times, and increased design flexibility. By utilising wire feedstock instead of powder, EBAM is able to minimise waste and cost. The technology’s ability to fabricate near-net shape parts can also reduce the need for post-processing and machining.

The IM-1 Mission successfully landed the spacecraft on the Moon’s south pole region, marking the United States’ first return since Apollo 17 and the first commercial lunar lander to transmit valuable science data of each NASA payload from the lunar surface. The IM-1 Mission was part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, which is exploring and preparing the Moon for crewed missions in the future.

The mission had a few challenges, but Intuitive Machines’ concept was proven and the main objectives of the mission were met, as the lander sent back critical data and is said to have made the case for future missions of its kind. Sciaky is actively researching ways to improve upon its contributions to the aerospace sector.

www.sciaky.com

www.intuitivemachines.com

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ApplicationsNews
June 11, 2024

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