Stratasys to supply 3D printing materials to NASA

Stratasys is working with Phoenix Analysis & Design Technologies, or PADT, to jointly help Lockheed Martin Space supply 3D printed parts for NASA’s Orion deep-space spacecraft.

The Orion spacecraft leverages a variant of new Stratasys Antero 800NA to build an intricately-connected 3D printed docking hatch door

The project will use materials developed by Stratasys including the proven Ultem 9085 and an ESD variant of the new Antero 800NA. This is a thermoplastic material based on Polyetherketoneketone (PEKK) offering high performance mechanical, chemical, and thermal properties. This particular version uses electro-static dissipative (ESD) functionality to meet NASA’s requirements for 3D printed parts in deep space, which include heat and chemical resistance, along with the ability to withstand high mechanical loads. These materials make additive manufacturing a feasible option and help to keep the costs of the parts under control.

Scott Sevcik, vice president of Manufacturing at Stratasys, commented: “The demands of space travel require extremely high performance materials and the most rigorous manufacturing processes in the industry. Part integrity and repeatability are essential and must pass NASA’s demanding testing and validation process.”

NASA has developed the Orion spacecraft to send astronauts to the Moon and beyond. The next test flight, dubbed Exploration Mission-1 (EM-1), will use the powerful Space Launch System or SLS rocket and involves flying an unmanned Orion thousands of miles beyond the Moon during an approximately three week mission. This will be followed by the EM-2 flight, a manned mission designed to prepare for increasingly complex missions in deep space. This mission will use more than 100 3D printed production parts on board, produced at Lockheed Martin’s Additive Manufacturing Lab in conjunction with PADT, using the Stratasys materials.

Brian Kaplun, Manager of Additive Manufacturing at Lockheed Martin Space. “We’re not just creating parts, we’re reshaping our production strategy to make spacecraft more affordable and faster to produce.”

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