Students at UCSD have successfully hot-fire tested a 3D printed rocket. This comes only months after engineers at NASA successfully test fired a 3D printed rocket of their own. This is a testament to how powerful 3D printing has become.
Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS) completely designed the 3D printed metal engine in just 8 months.
Named the Tri-D, the 7-inch long rocket features a unique injector plate and a regenerative cooling jacket to ensure the engine will not overheat. Powered by kerosene and liquid oxygen, the Tri-D generated 200lbs of thrust during its test this past Saturday in the Mojave Desert. What’s more, the entire cost for the rocket was only $6,800.
Key to development of this low-cost rocket solution was the student’s work with NASA’s Marshal Space Flight Facility. At NASA the UCSD SEDS team was able to research how 3D printing could enable the quick and cheap manufacturing of their rocket.
While the SEDS team has conducted an awesome proof-of-concept they are not done yet. In the near future the Tri-D rocket will be used to power the 3rd stage of a NanoSat launcher.