The rocket has successfully completed a series of hot-fire tests in cooperation with NASA Glenn Research Center, or NASA-GRC, under a Space Act Agreement. The companies now plan to develop and certify the selective laser melting manufacturing process, or SLM, used to make the rocket engine components.
"This project combined new additive design/analysis tools and manufacturing processes to make a component with legacy engine performance characteristics, paving the road to implementing these technologies in these engine products," said Jeff Haynes, program manager, additive manufacturing, Aerojet Rocketdyne. "This is a significant advancement in the application of additive manufacturing to rocket engines. Additive manufacturing has the ability to produce complex parts at a fraction of the time and cost, if applied through a rigorous risk-based process. Today, we have the results of a fully additive manufactured rocket injector with a demonstration in a relevant environment."
The injector assembly was designed by Aerojet Rocketdyne to reduce manufacturing lead time from more than a year to just a few months, resulting in potential cost savings of more than 70% compared to traditional manufacturing processes. The next steps in the adoption of this technology include the generation of scale-up and establishing production requirements.