Skip to Content
Space

NASA has developed a way to 3-D-print its rocket nozzles

March 20, 2018

The space agency can finally ensure that additive manufacturing produces parts that withstand the incredible heat experienced by rocket engines.

The news: A newly patented method is called laser wire direct closeout (LWDC). Differing substantially from typical methods of 3-D printing with metal (see “10 Breakthrough Technologies of 2018: 3-D Metal Printing”), it uses a laser and metal wire to create strong metal bonds and precise structures.

The upshot: This process can cut the manufacturing time of rocket nozzles from months to weeks. “Our motivation behind this technology was to develop a robust process that eliminates several steps in the traditional manufacturing process,” says Paul Gradl, a senior propulsion engineer at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Taking out these steps allows for faster manufacturing.

Next up: The team is looking for additional ways to apply the technology across the industry.

This story first appeared in our future-of-work newsletter, Clocking In. Sign up here!

Keep Reading

Most Popular

Rendering of Waterfront Toronto project
Rendering of Waterfront Toronto project

Toronto wants to kill the smart city forever

The city wants to get right what Sidewalk Labs got so wrong.

Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research
Muhammad bin Salman funds anti-aging research

Saudi Arabia plans to spend $1 billion a year discovering treatments to slow aging

The oil kingdom fears that its population is aging at an accelerated rate and hopes to test drugs to reverse the problem. First up might be the diabetes drug metformin.

Yann LeCun
Yann LeCun

Yann LeCun has a bold new vision for the future of AI

One of the godfathers of deep learning pulls together old ideas to sketch out a fresh path for AI, but raises as many questions as he answers.

images created by Google Imagen
images created by Google Imagen

The dark secret behind those cute AI-generated animal images

Google Brain has revealed its own image-making AI, called Imagen. But don't expect to see anything that isn't wholesome.

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose WongIllustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.