Tuskegee University’s engineering researchers will oversee the testing and evaluation of additively manufactured parts for NASA’s artemis lunar lander.
NASA’s ambitious Artemis program will see two astronauts returning to the surface of the moon for the first time since Apollo 17 touched down in December of 1972. To achieve this by 2024, the U.S. space agency has commissioned three private aerospace companies to design and manufacture human landing systems (HLS) for the mission. SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Dynetics, a subsidiary of Leidos, have begun working on conceptualizing their human carriers which the astronauts will use to land on and take off from our lunar neighbor.
Within the Dynetics team is a number of smaller subcontractors that will play specific but crucial roles in the development of Dynetics’ HLS – one of which is Tuskegee. As the project’s only university-based team of academics, Tuskegee University’s engineering researchers will oversee the testing and evaluation of additively manufactured parts for the lunar lander.
Kim Doering, vice president of Space Systems at Dynetics, said, “Dynetics is excited to lead this expert team of subcontractors that will return Americans to the lunar surface. This team has a proven history of technical excellence, and their contributions will greatly benefit the future of space exploration.”
The Tuskegee team will carry out tensile and fatigue testing on the lander’s 3D printed components, evaluating their quality, durability, and suitability for the harsh environments outside of Earth’s atmosphere. The researchers will also be carrying out metallurgical evaluations from scratch, as 3D printed materials and parts carry new challenges in their standardization and certification. The studies will help establish the currently unknown relationships between the microstructure, processing, and properties of the 3D printed parts.
Dr. Heshmat Aglan, dean of Tuskegee’s College of Engineering, explains: “Tuskegee University is proud to join this illustrious team helping the nation land astronauts on the moon by 2024. Our College of Engineering’s state-of-the-art facilities in additive manufacturing and materials processing and characterization have placed us in a strong position to join such a significant undertaking. This project provides real-time engineering opportunities as the College of Engineering educates the next generation of scientists and engineers.” Read the full story.