NASA Awards $5.2M Contract to Auburn University’s NCAME

AUBURN, AL, Apr 2, 2019 – Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering announced that NASA has awarded a $5.2M contract to its National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence (NCAME) to develop additive manufacturing processes and techniques for improving the performance of liquid rocket engines. The three-year contract is the latest expansion of a longstanding public-private partnership between Auburn and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.

  • One interesting aspect is that this research is targeting “long duration spaceflight” – i.e. the moon and beyond.
  • Another story from behind the scenes here is that Auburn is also working with NASA on a longer term project to develop additive manufacturing machines to take with them on long duration flights that would be able to manufacture “spare parts” as needed rather than stocking a bunch of parts that might break. Think about how that would have been helpful on Apollo 13.

A little background:

Additive manufacturing, also known as metal 3D printing, offers unrivalled design freedom with the ability to manufacture parts from a wide range of materials. Components that would not have even been possible just a few years ago can now be made in volume according to high standards using a wide range of metal powders. No longer solely a prototyping technology, additive manufacturing is now being used for the commercial production of highly complex components and structures for the most demanding applications.

Auburn University’s College of Engineering leads the development and go-to-market implementation of this technology, with applications in avionics and aerospace at the forefront of applications. GE Avionics is one partner that has taken research conducted in conjunction with Auburn all the way to production.

Auburn and NASA also partnered to create the National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence (NCAME).

For more information, visit Auburn University website.

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