3D printed spacecraft platinum thruster chamber

3D printed technology always surprises us. This is world’s first spacecraft thruster made by 3D printing, with a platinum combustion chamber and nozzle, a method that will improve space exploration.

Image credit ESA



The thruster made by 3D printing has passed its baptism of fire with a series of firings lasting more than an hour and 618 ignitions.

The prototype was produced and tested at the Airbus Defence and Space facility in Lampoldshausen, Germany, through an ESA project called Additive Manufacturing Technologies for Advanced Satellite Thrust Chamber, AMTAC. The hot firing campaign took place on 5 May 2015 and included a single burn of 32 minutes, during which a maximum throat temperature of 1253°C was attained. The campaign demonstrated that performance comparable to a conventionally-produced platinum thruster can be obtained through additive manufacturing.

source ESA.int