0824 GMT January 15, 2021
German Aerospace Centre (DLR) in collaboration with SLM Solutions, have successfully created a rocket engine, called BERTA, fully assembled using 3D-printing technology.
The engine, which will be used in an Ariane 6 modular rocket developed by the ArianeGroup for the European Space Agency (ESA), is capable of delivering satellites to geostationary transfer or sun-synchronous orbits, sputniknews.com reported.
The new production method allowed the engine's weight to be reduced by 30 percent thus increasing its effectiveness by 20 percent, Deutsche Wirtschafts Nachrichten reported.
The 3D printing will also enable the use of more sophisticated cooling systems for the combustion chamber, which would be impossible using an ordinary assembling method.
ESA has already conducted its first successful hot fire test of the engine at DLR in Lampoldshausen, Germany. The engineers fired BERTA for 560 seconds with a reference thrust of 2.45 kilonewtons (Europe's heavy Ariane 5 rocket produces a thrust of around 6,650 kilonewtons)
Lysan Pfützenreuter, the project manager at DLR Space Management, told online media outlet 3D Printing Industry that 3D-printing manufacture of the rocket engines opens up news paths for the European aerospace industry.
"The successful demonstration of the technology is an important step towards improving the competitiveness of European launcher systems", he said.