Aerojet Rocketdyne completed initial testing of its next generation RL10C-X upper-stage rocket engine that contains major components produced with 3D printing.
The successful series of tests confirmed that the 3D printed components performed as expected when integrated into a complete, full-scale engine system.
“We’ve made steady progress incorporating game-changing 3D printing technology into our production engine programs to make them more affordable,” said Aerojet Rocketdyne CEO and President Eileen Drake. “By producing these components with 3D printing, we expect to reduce lead time by 35-50%, and overall engine cost by 25-35%.”
The initial round of testing included hot firing the RL10C-X prototype engine three times the duration of a typical RL10 mission, including high mixture ratio operation and multiple engine restarts. The 3D printed engine components and the entire engine system remain in excellent condition with significant life remaining.