Is there anything 3D printers can’t do? From internal organs to cars, 3D printers around the world have been churning out just about anything you can imagine. But now a British team of amateurs is about to break new ground by launching the world’s first 3D printed rocket. NASA has already been printing rocket parts, but this is the first time that an entire rocket has been made using the technology.

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3D printing is a natural fit for rocket science. “You can do highly complex shapes that simply aren’t practical to do any other way,” says Lester Haines, a member of the team who created the rocket. Haines is the head of the Special Projects Bureau at The Register magazine, a technology magazine where readers had written in to suggest the rocket project.

Related: Made in Space Just Launched the World’s First Zero-Gravity Printer

Building the rocket was, unsurprisingly, no easy task. It took 30 team members – including doctorate aeronautical engineers – 4 years to complete the project. The rocket will launch later this year in New Mexico, where a helium balloon will hoist the rocket to 65,000 feet, at which point the rocket will launch into space at 1,000 mph.


Images via the Special Projects Bureau