Space Systems Additive Manufacturing

Defining possible with Space Additive Manufacturing for more than 20 years.

metallic space structure

Northrop Grumman solves the toughest problems in space, defense, aeronautics, and cyberspace to meet the ever-evolving needs of customers worldwide.

Space Systems Additive Manufacturing examples

We have been defining possible with additive manufacturing (AM) for over 20 years. Leveraging diverse processes and metallic materials, our additive manufacturing offers significant advantages:

  • Enhanced design flexibility
  • Consolidated parts
  • Improved performance
  • Up to 70% cost reduction
  • Up to 90% reduction in lead time

Continuously innovating through AM, Northrop Grumman has facilitated transformative changes across various platforms, including radio frequency, sensors, engines, hypersonic systems, and air and space structures.

We collaborate and support small business technology partners with advancing and qualifying their capabilities for Northrop Grumman products.

additive manufacturing element

Pioneering Technology

As an early pioneer with 3D printing technologies, Northrop Grumman has been at the forefront of evolving AM – from prototyping to deliverable products. We have integrated thousands of AM polymer parts into air and space systems to date. Our accomplishments include:

  • The first metallic AM part flown on a DoD aircraft—a titanium component on X-47B in 2011
  • A titanium metallic AM part launched on a spacecraft
  • On-going certification of multiple components across aeronautics and space programs

Northrop Grumman continues to define what’s possible with AM by pushing to expand available material systems and apply AM to both novel and more critical applications.

Material Family Processes Space Product Applicability
Titanium Electron Beam Powder Bed Fusion, Laser Powder Bed Fusion Structures and subsystem products
Aluminum Laser Powder Bed Fusion Structures and subsystem products, Thermal Products, Electrical Products
Cobalt, Nickel, Other Laser Powder Bed Fusion High-Temp Products
Low Expansion Alloy Laser Powder Bed Fusion Payload Products
Silicon Carbide CERAPRINT™ Payload Products
Copper Electrochemical Thermal Products, Electrical Products
Titanium Automated Stir Friction Welding, Wire Directed Energy Deposition Launch Vehicles and Motors, Space Vehicle & Payload Products
Aluminum Automated Stir Friction Welding, Wire and Powder Directed Energy Deposition Launch Vehicles and Motors, Space Vehicle & Payload Products
Steel Wire Directed Energy Deposition Tooling, Ground Equipment, Launch Vehicles and Motors
Rigid ESD-Safe Polymers Laser Powder Bed Fusion, Material Extrusion Secondary/tertiary structures products, covers, guards, tooling, rapid prototypes
Elastomeric ESD-Safe Polymers Material Extrusion Protective cases, ground equipment, structural dynamics products
Neat Rigid Polymers Material Extrusion Tertiary products, tooling, rapid prototypes
Continuous Fiber Composites Scalable Composites Robotic Additive Manufacturing (SCRAM) Structures and Subsystem Products, Payload Products, Other