Successful testing of 3D printed rocket engine parts

Aerojet Rocketdyne says that, in tests, its 3D printed RL10C-X engine demonstrated long-duration operation and engine ignition in extreme in-flight conditions such as during a spaceflight mission.

Using a test chamber that simulates the vacuum of outer space, the RL10C-X, which produces roughly 24,000 pounds of thrust, was tested in a flight-like configuration to demonstrate the engine’s capability to complete a typical mission profile, including multiple restarts, the company said. The RL10C-X development program has accumulated more the 5,000 seconds of full engine hot fire time and 32 starts to date.

The RL10C-X’s injector and combustion chamber as well as other components have been produced using the company’s 3D printing technology.

‘Successfully completing this test series validates our approach to incorporating 3D printing technology into the RL10 program in order to reduce cost while maintaining the engine’s unmatched performance,’ said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and president Eileen P Drake.

This story uses material from Aerojet Rocketdyne, with editorial changes made by Materials Today. The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent those of Elsevier.