Aerospace AMAM for Space

Intuitive Machines lands on the Moon using Sciaky EBAM-made part

The 3D printed engine component was included in the IM-1 lander engine this past February.

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Today wire-based large-format metal 3D printing continues to grow and is offered by multiple companies around the world. But only about a decade ago there was only one company providing large format metal AM parts and it was Sciaky, via its proprietary EBAM technology. Sciaky has printed large-scale metal AM parts for land, sea, air and satellite applications. The company has now revealed that critical parts made with EBAM technology have landed on the Moon with Intuitive Machines’ IM-1 mission.

The part, printed with an expensive, difficult-to-deposit refractory alloy on one of Sciaky’s Electron Beam Additive Manufacturing (EBAM) systems, took only sixteen hours to complete. The part itself is the upper section of the main engine nozzle, which provides the main source of thrust for descent. Sciaky produced two additional upper nozzle sections, which were provided to Intuitive Machines for testing.

Intuitive Machines lands on the Moon using Sciaky EBAM 3D printed engine component, included in the IM-1 lander engine
Upper Nozzle Sections, as-deposited (Image Credit: Sciaky Inc)

Intuitive Machines rigorously tested the part under hot fire testing conditions—burning fuel up to the full throttle. After the determination that the part was suitable for end-use, it was assembled into the Nova-C lunar lander, Odysseus, for the IM-1 mission. As a part of the main engine of the lunar lander, the Sciaky-made upper nozzle section performed as required in the inhospitable environment of Space.

The IM-1 Mission successfully landed the spacecraft on the Moon’s south pole region, marking the United States’ first return since Apollo 17 and the first commercial lunar lander to transmit valuable science data of each NASA payload from the lunar surface. The IM-1 Mission was part of NASA’s Commercial Lunar Payload Services (CLPS) initiative, which is exploring and preparing the Moon for crewed missions in the future.

The mission had a few challenges, but Intuitive Machines’ concept was proven and the main objectives of the mission were met, as the lander sent back critical data and made the case for future missions of its kind. Sciaky is actively researching ways to improve upon its contributions to the aerospace sector.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based VoxelMatters. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites VoxelMatters.com and Replicatore.it, as well as VoxelMatters Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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