Space Launch System Using Futuristic Tech to Build Rockets

Uploaded by NASAMarshallTV on 06.11.2012

Ken Cooper: What we've got
here is the latest in direct
metal 3-D printing, if you
will. We call it additive
manufacturing now. It's the
official term. What it is,
it takes fine layers of metal
powder and welds those
together with a laser beam
to fuse a three-dimensional
object right from a computer
file. It's like artistic
welding, if you will. Selective
Laser Melting is the official
term on the patent. That kind
of describes what's going on.
You are selectively melting
the powder and wherever the
laser touches it turns to
solid and the rest of it stays
powder that you dump out
afterwards. Right now, we're
trying to qualify this to
build rocket motor parts.
Basically, what additive
manufacturing gives you is the
ability to build very complex
shapes that couldn't be built
other ways or just to simplify
building complex shapes. It
really doesn't care about the
geometry. Really the deciding
factor in whether the machine
can do it or not is the size
of the part. We wanted to have
the best technology out there
because we are shooting to put
these into human-rated rocket
Andy Hardin: When we build parts,
we go through a lot of tests, a
lot of inspection. We do a lot
of engineering builds first to
make sure we have the process
wrung out. There's always weld
problems that you have to deal
with and there's going to be
problems with this that we'll
have to work out, too, but this
has the potential to eliminate
a lot of those problems and it
has the potential to reduce the
cost by as much as half in some
cases on a lot of parts. Everybody
was really excited and now it's
time to start the real work,
which is making parts and building
the material properties, getting
the tests done. It's an exciting
time for the next few years.