NASA Hackspace: July 2013 Archives

The Silicon Valley of space could be Silicon Valley, The Space Review

"For nearly a decade, many have called the Mojave Air and Space Port the Silicon Valley of the entrepreneurial space, or NewSpace, industry, and understandably so. The spaceport is home to Scaled Composites, Virgin Galactic's The Spaceship Company, XCOR Aerospace, Masten Space Systems, Stratolaunch Systems, and others, filling the spaceport's hangars and buildings to capacity. More recently, the Seattle area as tried to brand itself as a Silicon Valley for NewSpace, with a diverse set of companies ranging from Blue Origin to Planetary Resources.

...During that time, few considered Silicon Valley as an entrepreneurial space hub...

...What's different this time around is that the space companies taking root in the region are looking less like the large, established aerospace companies--sometimes dubbed, at least somewhat pejoratively, as "OldSpace"--but more like the other entrepreneurial companies in the region..."

Marc's note: With a half-a-dozen and growing small "NewSpace" companies setting up in the Valley and surrounding area, a change is underway. While traditional companies still dominate, and will for some time, these small new companies and others in other regions are worthing noting. The economics are changing. Are we seeing the groundwork for a sustained, broader and larger industry emerging? If so, then the next phase in the space age may be upon us.

Hot-Fire Tests Show 3-D Printed Rocket Parts Rival Traditionally Manufactured Parts, NASA

"What can survive blazing temperatures of almost 6,000 degrees Fahrenheit without melting? What did not break apart at extreme pressures? What is made by a new process that forms a complex part in just one piece? What takes less than three weeks to go from manufacturing to testing? What can reduce the costs of expensive rocket parts by 60 percent or more?

Answer: 3-D printed parts

Engineers know that 3-D printed rocket parts have the potential to save NASA and industry money and to open up new affordable design possibilities for rockets and spacecraft. But until recently, no one had tested rocket parts critical to engine combustion in a hot-fire environment."

Marc's note: I believe SpaceX has already tested 3D printed parts in a hot-fire. Nonetheless, the premise of saving money by using 3D printed parts is the focus of the story and is a cost-saving measure that will reduce the cost of flight.


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