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NASA 3D-Printed a Rocket Nozzle for Deep Space

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The RAMFIRE nozzle performing a hot fire test.

The new alloy could play a key role in NASA's Moon to Mars objectives that require the ability to send more cargo to deep space destinations.

Credit: NASA

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) three-dimensionally (3D)-printed a lightweight aluminum rocket engine nozzle that could help enable deep space exploration with more cargo.

The single-piece nozzle features internal channels that keep it sufficiently cool to prevent melting.

NASA partnered with additive manufacturing materials company Elementum 3D to develop the A6061-RAM2 aluminum alloy, while manufacturer RPM Innovations fabricated the nozzles from the alloy using laser powder-directed energy deposition technology.

NASA designed the nozzle under its Reactive Additive Manufacturing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution project to advance 3D-printed rocket nozzles that can endure high temperatures and pressures.

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