Home News Chinese rocket with 3D printed parts reaches orbit for the first time

Chinese rocket with 3D printed parts reaches orbit for the first time

Privately-owned Chinese space company Landspace made history in July. Its 49-meter-long Zhuque-2 launch vehicle lifted off from the Jiuquan rocket launch site on Tuesday evening and successfully reached Earth orbit. This makes the Zhuque-2 the first rocket in the world powered by methane and liquid oxygen propellant to reach orbit.

But the alternative fuel is not the only innovative feature. Many components from the 3D printer were also used in the Zhuque-2. These were manufactured by Bright Laser Technologies (BLT), one of China’s leading metal 3D printing suppliers.

According to BLT, additive manufacturing enables complex structures that would hardly be possible using conventional methods. It also reduced weight and cost. BLT used special 3D printers from its own production facilities, which also meet the stringent requirements of the aerospace industry.

Both Landspace and BLT see great potential for 3D printing in space. The successful Zhuque-2 mission demonstrated that the combination of additive manufacturing and methane rocket propulsion can break new ground in private sector spaceflight. China is striving to take a pioneering role in this future market.

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