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NASA’s Alabama hub moves closer to 3-D printed rocket engine

HUNTSVILLE, Alabama — A team at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Alabama test fired a demonstrator engine made mostly with 3-D printed parts, moving them a step closer to building a high-performance rocket engine using additive manufacturing.

Over the past three years, Marshall has worked with several companies to produce and test complex 3-D printed rocket engine parts, including a turbopump that generated 2,000 horsepower, twice that of a NASCAR motor.

For the latest demonstration, the team connected the parts and test fired them together with cryogenic liquid hydrogen and oxygen. The turbopump raced to more than 90,000 revolutions per minute to produce 20,000 pounds of thrust.

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