Orbital ATK has completed a series of tests on a hypersonic engine combustor developed through a 3D printing process the company calls “powder bed fusion.”
The company subjected the combustor to propulsion wind tunnel tests and extreme temperature flight tests for a period of 20 days at NASA's Langley Research Center, Orbital ATK said Monday.
“This combustor is a great example of a component that was impossible to build just a few years ago,“ said Pat Nolan, vice president and general manager of the missile products division in Orbital ATK's defense systems group.
Nolan added that the tests seek to encourage engineers to develop new tools through additive manufacturing process in order to reduce costs and manufacturing time.
Orbital ATK concluded final assembly work on the combustor design at its facilities in West Virginia and New York.