Spacecraft and satellites have always been reliant on new and advanced technologies. Today, it’s 3D printing that is opening up new design and manufacturing opportunities, even for the most relevant parts. An increasing number of young companies are entering the space industry – armed with the knowledge that 3D printing technology is capable of satisfying the strict requirements of the aerospace industry while remaining cost-efficient overall.
Especially in the rapidly growing market of commercial space applications, the ability to manufacture prototypes and small series productions plays a decisive role. There are often extreme customer-specific requirements on aerospace parts, which matches up perfectly with the possibilities offered by additive manufacturing.
Additive manufacturing also enables the use of custom materials such as copper alloys that would be very difficult and expensive to process conventionally.
Weather data, communications, global positioning systems, global pictures and maps – a growing number of services are taking advantage of small satellites, or in some cases are completely dependent on them. To put these microsatellites into orbit, small launchers are required. Market demand for these launchers are steadily increasing. Over the past few years, this “New Space” industry has blossomed rapidly with many different start-ups and companies specializing in development. The company that successfully launches the largest payload into space with the most efficient engine will win the race.
Additive manufacturing is the key approach to keeping costs low while maintaining an optimal engine design, but this only works if the engine can be 3D printed as a single piece.
To produce their new Ariane 6 rocket booster, the ArianeGroup decided to manufacture a mission-critical engine component themselves using industrial 3D printing. The key objective was to reduce the original 248 individual parts as much as possible, while also reducing the unit costs.
The EOS Additive Minds team and the Ariane team tackled this challenge together: after risk and scenario analysis and an estimate of the overall costs, the cost per part was optimized. Next, the production layout was created and visualized, and the production flow was planned and optimized.
Watch the video below to find out more.
The Ariane program combines our innovative strength with the expertise of EOS. Together, we are preparing to additively manufacture the injection head for a rocket engine. The results are impressive – a significantly reduced production time and a 50 % reduction in costs.