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NASA awards $5.2 million to Auburn's National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence

<p>A rocket is shown from Earth's orbit.&nbsp;</p>

A rocket is shown from Earth's orbit. 

Auburn University’s Samuel Ginn College of Engineering announced Monday that NASA awarded a $5.2 million contract to Auburn’s National Center for Additive Manufacturing Excellence. 

The three-year contract is an expansion of a long-standing private partnership between Auburn and NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center. Mike Ogles, director of NASA programs in the College of Engineering, will serve as the project manager. 

“This contract is a giant leap toward making Alabama the go-to state for additive manufacturing,” Ogles said. “We look forward to growing our partnership with NASA, industry and academia as we support the development of our nation’s next rocket engines.”

The news release said the contract is intended to improve additive manufacturing processes and techniques for improving the performance of liquid rocket engines.

“For decades, Auburn engineers have been instrumental in helping the U.S. achieve its space exploration goals,” said Christopher Roberts, dean of Auburn’s College of Engineering. “This new collaboration between NASA and our additive manufacturing researchers will play a major role in developing advanced rockets that will drive long-duration space flight, helping our nation achieve its bold vision for the future of space.” 

The research under the new contract is a part of NASA’s Rapid Analysis and Manufacturing Propulsion Technology, which focuses on evolving lightweight, large-scale novel and additive manufacturing techniques for regeneratively cool-thrust chamber assemblies for liquid rocket engines. Nina Shamsaei, NCAME director, is leading Auburn’s team. 

NCAME will support the RAMPT project in creating a domestic supply chain and developing specialized manufacturing technology vendors for government, academia and the private sector. The announcement was made at the biannual ASTM International Committee on Additive Manufacturing Technologies hosted by Auburn University in Opelika, Alabama. 

“This partnership with Auburn University and industry will help develop improvements for liquid rocket engines, as well as contribute to commercial opportunities,” said Paul McConnaughey, deputy director of the Marshall Space Flight Center. “The technologies developed by this team will be made available widely to the private sector, offering more companies the opportunity to use these advanced manufacturing techniques.”

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