The implementation of additive manufacturing techniques to produce critical spaceflight systems is well underway. These technologies will be a key contributor to developing both launch vehicles and spacecraft that will play a crucial role in delivering the first woman and the next man to the surface of the moon by 2025. In 2021 NASA released NASA-STD-6030 “Additive Manufacturing Requirements for Spaceflight Systems” design to create certification and qualification strategies for mature technologies for both metallic and non-metallic materials.
The fracture control methodologies that NASA uses for the qualification of critical spaceflight hardware is heavily reliant on a full understanding of the design, analysis, testing, inspection and tracking of hardware. New advances in additive manufacturing technologies have quickly created unique challenges that are not captured in the current NASA-STD-6030 framework. Examples include the use of multiple lasers, adaptive technologies and components that cannot be inspection using quantitative nondestructive evaluation. To adapt, NASA has begun to produce explore the adaptation of Probabilistic Damage Tolerance Approaches (PDTA). This approach includes the development of computational modeling, understanding the “effect of defects” and the implementation of in-situ monitoring and inspection techniques.