In space travel, custom parts for vehicles such as rockets and satellites are often needed quickly to accommodate changes in design, as well as for repair and functionality purposes. Additive manufacturing is an ideal technology to meet these needs, as components can be made through a relatively short cycle of design, build and test. However, this cycle must be continually refined to ensure the quality and reliability of the 3D-printed parts.
A new NASA Space Technology Research Institute (STRI) led by Carnegie Mellon University seeks to shorten the cycle required to design, manufacture and test parts that can withstand the conditions of space travel through the development of models for qualification and certification (Q&C).
First set up in 2016, the STRI program aims to strengthen NASA’s ties to the academic community through long-term, sustained investment in research and technology development, while also fostering talent among highly skilled engineers, scientists and technologists.