NASA Demonstrates Unique Manufacturing Capability at Langley Center
HAMPTON, Va., June 21, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Researchers at NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., will demonstrate a novel manufacturing technique called Electron Beam Freeform Fabrication, or EBF3, when NASA’s Deputy Administrator Lori Garver and Chief Technologist Bobby Braun visit the center Wednesday, June 22.
Garver also will speak at a 2 p.m. EDT ceremony recognizing Langley engineers who contributed to the “Horizontal Lander” HL-20 program. Sierra Nevada Space Systems is using the technology to develop a new commercial vehicle for potential future transportation of NASA astronauts to the International Space Station.
EBF3 uses a wire feed design to deliver quality parts, including those that are made out of two different materials. The immediate and greatest potential for the process is in the aviation industry where major structural segments of an airliner, or casings for a jet engine, could be manufactured for about $1,000 per pound less than conventional means.
The EBF3 system has been successfully test flown on a NASA jet that is used to provide researchers with brief periods of weightlessness. Future space-based crews could use EBF3 to manufacture spare parts as needed, rather than rely on a supply of parts launched from Earth.
During the afternoon ceremony, executives from Sierra Nevada will recognize about 40 current and former Langley engineers for their contributions on the HL-20 lifting body design concept, and their analysis and wind tunnel testing during the 1980s and 1990s. NASA Television will broadcast the event live. For NASA TV downlink, schedule and streaming video information, visit:
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