COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Aerojet Rocketdyne believes that additive manufacturing, better known as 3-D printing, can help speed development of its AR-1 rocket engine while also reducing its costs.

In a briefing with reporters, Linda Cova, executive director of hydrocarbon engine programs at Aerojet Rocketdyne, said the company was examining using additive manufacturing to produce some components of the engine, and was already using it to support early design work on the engine.

However, she said it was too soon in the engine’s development to offer specific estimates of savings in terms of both cost and time on the engine.

The company should have a better idea of potential savings in about a year, after the engine completes a preliminary design review and the company makes decisions on how to implement the technology.

Aerojet Rocketdyne is also examining using additive manufacturing on its other engine programs, company vice president Julie Van Kleeck said.

“We’re looking across our product base for where this is best applicable,” she said. That includes the RL-10 upper-stage engine and plans to restart production of the RS-25 engine formerly used on the space shuttle for the Space Launch System.

Jeff Foust writes about space policy, commercial space, and related topics for SpaceNews. He earned a Ph.D. in planetary sciences from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a bachelor’s degree with honors in geophysics and planetary science...