The use of 3D Printing to create rockets and spacecraft is not just for revolutionary start-ups like Rocket Lab and NASA is here to prove it. The US Space Agency has planned to integrate more than 100 elements made with 3D printing technologies on its new crew capsule, Nasa Orion Capsule.
The parts that will be realized thanks to the 3D printing were specially conceived by Lockheed Martin in collaboration with the experts in 3D printing, Stratasys, and the PADT design office.
According to experts, the technology that will be used to make these parts will be the same that will send humans to Mars. According to Stratasys, these pieces will be made of entirely new materials specially designed to withstand the harsh conditions of space.
Resistant materials will be used
Lockheed Martin, along with the PADT design office, a US-based company, ensured that the parts for Nasa Orion were made from new materials that could withstand the extreme temperatures and chemical exposures of distant space missions.
If initially, 3D printing or additive manufacturing has been used to make prototypes across a range of different industries, today it is increasingly considered for scale production.
The 3D printed elements are more economical
The technology that will be used for Orion will enable faster manufacturing of lightweight plastic parts and lower cost than traditional assembly lines that require significant investments.
Apart from that, the use of 3D printing will also allow designers to have more freedom in their work, as Scott Sevcik explains. “We have more freedom with design. The pieces may look more organic, more skeletal,” said Sevcik.
As a reminder, NASA Orion is part of NASA’s follow-up program for deep space shuttles, now retired, which will allow astronauts to travel beyond the International Space Station, namely, in future missions to the Moon and, then, even to Mars.
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