The CST-100 Starliner and Oxford Performance Materials
Boeing plans to use more than 600 3D Printed parts in their newest spacecraft project entitled, CST-100 Starliner. The new design for the NASA Commercial Crew Development program is an attempt to broaden space travel beyond the confines of previous missions, which were led by the US-government. In order to do so, Boeing enlisted the help of Oxford Performance Materials, a small US-based 3D printing firm, to build the 3D printed parts for the new Starliner “space taxis.”
PEKK for Flexible Parts
Cnet reported to Anatol Locker, an All3DP writer, in his article entitled, Boeing’s Space Taxi Will Use More than 600 3D Printed Parts that Boing has relied heavily on 3D printing since 2003. Also noting in the same article, “So far, 50,000 parts were made with additive manufacturing. She added that Oxford’s 3D-printed parts would be used the “air revitalization system, interior closeouts and support structures” of the Starliner.” Boing plans to rely on not only metal 3D printing but also wants to utilize materials such as Polyetherketoneketone (PEKK) for some of the production. This strong plastic offers additional strength and heat, radiation, and various chemical resistance, but require high temperatures in order to be printed. The Starliner is designed to transport up to seven passengers or cargo to a low-Earth orbit – like to the International Space Station. Test flights are scheduled for June 2018. The first crew will launch into space in August 2018.
Credit where credit is due
Special Thanks to Anatol, Co-founder of All3DP for compiling a large portion of the information provided in this article. Here is a little more about Anatol Locker’s company All3DP: We are a team of experienced digital entrepreneurs based in Munich, Germany. Friends, colleagues, and partners in the industry from all around the globe collaborate with All3DP. Our mission is to offer a great service that helps to promote the fascination of 3D printing to everyone.All3DP is a startup company, which has been founded in 2014 and which is well financed by leading German investors HighTech-Gründerfonds, Bayern Kapital, Deutsche Balaton AG and private investors. All3DP.com has more than 450,000 unique visitors per month (Google Analytics, Dec. 2016) and is growing rapidly.
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