Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

NASA's Space Launch System using futuristic technology to build the next generation of rockets

Date:
November 8, 2012
Source:
NASA
Summary:
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. is using a method called selective laser melting, or SLM, to create intricate metal parts for America's next heavy-lift rocket. Using this state-of-the-art technique will benefit the agency by saving millions in manufacturing costs.

First test piece produced on the M2 Cusing Machine at the Marshall Center.
Credit: NASA/MSFC/Andy Hardin

NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Ala. is using a method called selective laser melting, or SLM, to create intricate metal parts for America's next heavy-lift rocket. Using this state-of-the-art technique will benefit the agency by saving millions in manufacturing costs.

NASA is building the Space Launch System or SLS -- a rocket managed at the Marshall Center and designed to take humans, equipment and experiments beyond low Earth orbit to nearby asteroids and eventually to Mars.

SLM is similar to 3-D printing and is the future of manufacturing.

"Basically, this machine takes metal powder and uses a high-energy laser to melt it in a designed pattern," says Ken Cooper, advanced manufacturing team lead at the Marshall Center. "The laser will layer the melted dust to fuse whatever part we need from the ground up, creating intricate designs. The process produces parts with complex geometries and precise mechanical properties from a three-dimensional computer-aided design."

There are two major benefits to this process, which are major considerations for the Space Launch System Program: savings and safety.

"This process significantly reduces the manufacturing time required to produce parts from months to weeks or even days in some cases," said Andy Hardin, the integration hardware lead for the Engines Office in SLS. "It's a significant improvement in affordability, saving both time and money. Also, since we're not welding parts together, the parts are structurally stronger and more reliable, which creates an overall safer vehicle."

The emerging technology will build parts for America's next flagship rocket more affordably and efficiently, while increasing the safety of astronauts and the workforce. Some of the "printed" engine parts will be structurally tested and used in hot-fire tests of a J-2X engine later this year. The J-2X will be used as the upper stage engine for the SLS.

The goal is to use selective laser melting to manufacture parts on the first SLS test flight in 2017.

The agency procured the M2 Cusing machine, built by Concept Laser -- a division of Hoffman Innovation Group of Lichtenfels, Germany to perform the selective-laser-manufacturing.

Watch video of the SLM machine and see it in action: http://www.nasa.gov/multimedia/videogallery/index.html?media_id=154931531


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by NASA. The original article was written by Bill Hubscher, NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

NASA. "NASA's Space Launch System using futuristic technology to build the next generation of rockets." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 8 November 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121108153752.htm>.
NASA. (2012, November 8). NASA's Space Launch System using futuristic technology to build the next generation of rockets. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121108153752.htm
NASA. "NASA's Space Launch System using futuristic technology to build the next generation of rockets." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121108153752.htm (accessed July 22, 2014).

Share This




More Space & Time News

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

Raw: Cargo Craft Undocks from Space Station

AP (July 22, 2014) A Russian Soyuz cargo-carrying spacecraft undocked from the International Space Station on Monday. The craft is due to undergo about ten days of engineering tests before it burns up in the Earth's atmosphere. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

NASA Ceremony Honors Moon Walker Neil Armstrong

AP (July 21, 2014) NASA honored one of its most famous astronauts Monday by renaming a historic building at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. It now bears the name of Neil Armstrong, the first man to walk on the moon. (July 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Neil Armstrong's Post-Apollo 11 Life

Newsy (July 19, 2014) Neil Armstrong gained international fame after becoming the first man to walk on the moon in 1969. But what was his life like after the historic trip? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
This Week @ NASA, July 18, 2014

This Week @ NASA, July 18, 2014

NASA (July 18, 2014) Apollo 11 yesterday, Next Giant Leap tomorrow, Science instruments for Europa mission, and more... Video provided by NASA
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins