|Members of UCSD's student rocket team celebrate progress with their 3D printed rocket engine.|
Way out in the Mojave Desert, students from the University of California, San Diego, launched their Vulcan-1, a liquid-fueled rocket with an engine totally made of 3D-printed parts. The launch was on Saturday, May 21st. It was the result of more than 100,000 collective hours of work since 2013 when they began by members of the Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS). Tri-D, measuring 17.7 centimeters in length and 4.5 kilograms in weight, burns liquid oxygen and kerosene to create about 90.7 kilograms of thrust.
In preparation for their test launch last year, SEDS founder Deepak Atyam told Space.com: “The engine team was working day and night, 12 and sometimes more hours per day for almost two weeks.”
Although the rocket was just testing the waters of this concept, and didn't actually make it to space, the SEDS team hopes to have more launches in the future and looks forward to sending out a satellite into orbit. 3D laser printing is advantageous because it is faster and more reasonable, and allows for more detailed design for each component.
NASA and ESA have both been trying out 3D printed parts for their rockets and satellites for a few years now. This was the first group of students to successfully launch a rocket with an engine that's entirely 3D-printed. this only further proves that the uses for 3-D printing are endless!