ESA showcases printed metal parts fit for space

ESA showcases printed metal parts fit for space

Credit: AFP/Getty Images

A European Space Agency technician works on the Giove B satellite in Noordwijk on March 5, 2008. The satellite should go into orbit at the end of the year as part of the Galileo network - the European satellite navigation project. AFP PHOTO: MAARTJE BLIJDENSTEIN (Photo credit should read MAARTJE BLIJDENSTEIN/AFP/Getty Images)

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KMOV.com

Posted on October 15, 2013 at 10:03 AM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 15 at 10:08 AM

BERLIN (AP) -- The European Space Agency says it has developed a technology that allows metal parts for spacecraft and nuclear reactors to be "printed" as a single piece.

   In recent years three-dimensional printing has become commonplace in manufacturing. But so far this method has largely been limited to making plastic objects.

   ESA says its metal-printing technology can be used to create more complex shapes than with traditional techniques and leaves almost no waste material.

   The Paris-based space agency presented several sample objects capable of withstanding temperatures of up to 1,000 degrees Celsius (1,832 Fahrenheit) at an event in London on Tuesday.

   It aims to make the parts even more durable in the coming years.

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