UCSD group plans second 3-D printed rocket engine test to gather more data

LA JOLLA, Calif. - A team of UC San Diego students said they are the first university group in the world to build a 3-D printed rocket engine.

The team, part of the school's Students for the Exploration and Development of Space (SEDS), spent Monday working on devices they will attach to the engine to gather more data, and a second test will take place on Saturday in the Mojave Desert.

"Our test is trying to prove if it's as reliable as a traditionally made engine," said Andy Kieatiwong, who is leading the research group.

The team has named the engine Tri-D.

The liquid-fueled metal engine is about 10 inches long and weighs 10 pounds. It's designed to launch into space carrying tiny satellites.

"Lowering the cost to get to space will allow us to put satellites in space with a cheaper cost, get more information that will ultimately benefit society as a whole," said Steve Guerin, a member of the team.

The satellites that could be carried into space could range from major communication companies to research firms. It's a project that may benefit everyone.

Each student on the team has worked between 20 to 30 hours a week putting the engine together.

"I think aerospace engineering is still going strong. It's an impacted major here at Jacob's School of Engineering and I think that with projects like these and ambitious students, aerospace engineering will continue to live on," said Kieatiwong.

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