NASA spacecraft will receive more than a hundred 3D-printed parts

Space Agency NASA is developing a new space capsule Orion, designed to carry astronauts, which will receive more than 100 parts made by 3D printing. They are specially designed by Lockheed Martin’s chief designer in collaboration with Stratasys 3D printing experts and engineers from Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies (PADT).

These components will be made of high-tech thermoplastics, specially created for the harsh space conditions. Such parts will be produced in the laboratory of additive technologies Lockheed Martin in conjunction with PADT, which already use equipment and materials Stratasys. Using high-tech materials such as ULTEM 9085 ™ (PEI) and Antero 800NA - a completely new material, a variation of polyether ketone (PEKK) with antistatic properties, NASA will be able to meet the key requirements for 3D printed parts to work with them in space.

“Collaboration with PADT, Stratasys and NASA has allowed us to achieve sufficient repeatability of results for the transition from simple prototyping to the production of functional products. We are not just creating the details, we are reshaping the production strategy itself in order to reduce the cost and production time of the spacecraft, ”says Brian Kaplun, head of additive manufacturing at Lockheed Martin.

It is not yet specified when the next test flight of the Orion capsule is expected, but it is known that the first test flight was carried out at the end of 2014. The second flight is scheduled for the end of 2019, but we cannot exclude its transfer to 2020, the capsule will spend 3 weeks in space and will be put into orbit of the Moon to assess the suitability of use in space conditions.

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