No one expects college kids to beat NASA to the punch. On Saturday, students at University of California San Diego launched a rocket with a completely 3D-printed engine. Students for the Exploration and Development of Space claims to be the first university group to do this. Watch it fly!
Here it is again, filmed from a drone.
Their rocket, dubbed Vulcan-1, is 19 feet long, 8 inches in diameter, and capable of 750 pounds of thrust. It's powered by a cryogenic combination of liquid oxygen and refined kerosene.
NASA's been working on 3D-printing rocket engines for some time now. Last winter they put some 3D-printed parts through a fiery test. The private space industry, too, is working on rockets with 3D printed components. In 2014, SpaceX's Falcon 9 launched with a 3D-printed valve. But as far as we know, this is the first time a completely 3D-printed rocket has blasted off.
However, as this one probably didn't make it to space, there are still many more firsts to come.
Watch the launch below: