Students in Manufacturing Engineering Technology are spending this fall testing a process that, if approved, could be used in future programs by NASA.
The leader of the Advanced Manufacturing Technology Team at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center approached PSU Manufacturing Engineering Technology Professor Russ Rosmait this fall, requesting assistance with the manufacture of a fuel mixer assembly prototype. Rosmait and the NASA employee had worked together in the past, and Rosmait said his colleague was aware of PSU's capabilities in Rapid Prototyping and the Investment Casting Process.
The Rapid Prototype (RP) process is a common method for the development of new product designs. As NASA seeks to find faster and less expensive ways to manufacture space hardware it is turning to RP methods to prove out concepts to reduce cost. PSU is assisting them in this effort, said Rosmait.
"This type of work is very preliminary. We are making a proof of a concept project," he explained. "The parts we make could end up as marketing pieces and used as a tool to sell the design concept of Rapid Prototyping, which could reduce the cost for these types of products as well as access to space."
This isn't the first time the PSU's Engineering Technology Department has done Research and Development work with NASA. In the past, they have worked on an Aluminum Alloys development project and an undergraduate research project that flew on NASA's KC-135 microgravity laboratory.