Sciaky, a 3D printer manufacturer known for developing an Electron Beam AM process capable to produce large-scale parts, fabricated an engine component included in the IM-1 lander engine.

Built for Intuitive Machines’ IM-1 mission to the Moon, the critical part was built with a difficult to deposit refractory alloy in sixteen hours. 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.

Upper Nozzle Sections, as-deposited (Image Credit: Sciaky Inc)

The space company 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.

Featured image: Upper Nozzle Section undergoing hot fire testing (Image Credit: Intuitive Machines)

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