NASA's Triumph: 3D Rocket Engine

NASAImage Source: NASA


NASA’s Marshall Center in Alabama achieves a milestone by testing a 3D-printed Rotating Detonation Rocket Engine (RDRE), generating over 5,800 pounds of thrust for 251 seconds. This breakthrough technology aims to enhance deep space missions, offering improved propulsion efficiency crucial for lunar and Martian explorations.


NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center has reached a significant milestone by conducting a successful test of a pioneering Rotating Detonation Rocket Engine (RDRE). The test, lasting 251 seconds, surpassed the 5,800 pounds of thrust mark, showcasing its potential for extended space travel missions.

Engineer Thomas Teasley, leading the RDRE test effort, highlighted its capability to replicate critical spacecraft maneuvers, such as lander touchdowns and deep-space burns needed for interplanetary travel. This successful trial reflects the engine's potential for varied mission requirements, from lunar landings to Mars expeditions.

The RDRE's initial hot fire test in 2022, in partnership with In Space LLC and Purdue University, generated over 4,000 pounds of thrust for nearly a minute. The recent test aims to explore scalability, catering to diverse engine systems, and serving various mission needs, including supersonic retropropulsion vital for Martian landings.

This technological leap demonstrates the RDRE's efficiency in propelling heavier payloads deeper into space, aligning with NASA's ambitious vision of lunar and Martian exploration. Collaboration between NASA's centers and external entities like Venus Aerospace indicates a collective effort to enhance the engine's performance and adaptability.

The RDRE, overseen and funded by NASA's Game Changing Development Program, is a cornerstone in developing lightweight propulsion systems pivotal for advancing space exploration. Engineers at NASA's Glenn Research Center and Venus Aerospace are collaborating to optimize this breakthrough technology further.


NASA's successful test of the 3D-printed Rotating Detonation Rocket Engine marks a significant stride in propelling future space missions. This innovation promises enhanced efficiency, critical for NASA's ambitious Moon to Mars vision, amplifying possibilities for deeper space exploration.

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