NASA claims it is 75pc of the way there with its first-ever 3D-printed rocket engine after another batch of parts were tested this week.

It turns out you can pretty much 3D print anything nowadays. Prosthetic limbs? Check. Prosthetic turtle shells? Check. Food? Check. Guns? Check. Rockets? Well, pretty much now, yea. That’s because NASA’s latest project, to 3D print an entire space rocket, is almost complete.

This all makes sense, really. 3D printing, on the whole, is seen as a way to drastically reduce manufacturing costs. We’ve seen it already in a recent interview with ENABLE’s Stephen Dignam, whose homemade prosthetic arms and hands are creating incredibly affordable options for those unlucky enough to need one.

For NASA, it’s no different, with costings for space projects running into eye-watering sums. Space X, for example, is pouring an awful lot of resources into developing rockets that can land back down on Earth, rather than crashing . This is because the engine is often the most expensive part of the spacecraft.

For three years now NASA has been working with various vendors to make 3D-printed parts, such as turbopumps and injectors, and test them individually. Now they have started testing them together, a huge step.

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