Aerojet Rocketdyne, a subsidiary of Aerojet Rocketdyne Holdings, Inc., has successfully hot-fire tested a full-scale, additively manufactured thrust chamber assembly for the RL10 rocket engine that was built from a copper alloy using selective laser melting (SLM) technology, which is often referred to as 3-D printing.
Aerojet has actively been working over the last decade to incorporate 3-D printing technology into the RL10 and other propulsion systems to make them more affordable while taking advantage of the inherent design and performance capabilities made possible by 3-D printing.
Another key benefit provided by 3-D printing is the ability to design and build advanced features that allow for improved heat transfer. For many rocket engine applications, this enhanced heat transfer capability enables a more compact and lighter engine, which is highly desirable in space launch applications.
Aerojet Rocketdyne is applying 3-D printing technology to many of its other products, including the RS-25 engines that will help explore deep space.