SpaceX: 3D printing world’s first rocket thruster

Space Exploration Technologies Corp. (SpaceX) has revealed that it has certified what it says is the world’s first 3D printed rocket thruster. According to the company, 3D printing can drastically cut the cost and time of manufacturing finished parts for space vehicles and by implication for any vehicle.

Called the SuperDraco thruster, eight will power the Dragon spacecraft for both the launch escape-from-gravity system as well as for coordinated Earth landings, Flash Gordon-style. The Draco engines were originally designed only for manoeuvring the spacecraft in orbit and to assist during re-entry. The upgraded SuperDracos produce 16,000 pounds of thrust plus the deep throttle capability that gives astronauts the ability to make pinpoint landings. … (Read more)