What is 3D printing doing lately in the realm of secret projects the public hasn't been told about? We haven't written here much about the secret side of 3D printing, even if it's inevitable our own government and other organizations are probably doing incredible things with the technology. One of those first secrets revealed recently is through the California-based independent space agency SpaceX. They released a statement saying they've used 3D printing for the first time on one of their rockets launched earlier this year.
While this may not sound all that earth-shattering, it's much more significant than one might think. The reason is because 3D printing still hasn't been incorporated into spacecraft completely yet. While some testing has been done on earth, one successfully launched is a different matter. The rocket in question was SpaceX's Falcon9 rocket launched back in January. It had a valve printed exclusively on a 3D printer that happened to make the rocket perform better than it ordinarily would have.
The above valve is also quite significant based on how efficient it is and on the reality it couldn't have been created through traditional manufacturing. With 3D printers creating parts for spacecraft and other aerospace projects guaranteeing better performance and efficiency, it opens the door to paring down space travel budgets.
What does this do for SpaceX, though, especially with their plans to finally take human beings back into space before long?
SpaceX as the 3D Printing Center for Space Travel
Had 3D printing been at the level it is now years ago, you know NASA would have been using it immediately. And they perhaps are now for their own unmanned projects. SpaceX has much more ambitious plans for taking over the NASA platform of getting human beings back into space. With SpaceX now revealing itself as a leader in using 3D printing for space projects, the road ahead looks quite rosy for making their plans come true.
This golden path seems already paved thanks to 3D printing making the production of spacecraft much more affordable. No more will we have to hear about billion-dollar budgets in order to get astronauts back into space and possibly landing on planets or asteroids. Plus, all those constant fears of astronauts getting killed from a launch gone wrong or an event in space will be considerably lessened using parts created on a 3D printer.
3D printing is going to make space travel exciting again and less of an impossible task due to fewer resources available to fund such endeavors.
In the meantime, we'll keep our eye out for other 3D printing secrets that may be going on out there. With so many amazing things in 3D printing already happening publicly, anything secret may seem redundant in comparison.