The first 3D printed unmanned plane came out of the joint efforts of students at Southampton University and 3T RPD. That partnership has been renewed with the support of The Register’s Special Projects Bureau to 3D print the first spaceplane.
Vulture 2 is the plane part of the Low Orbit Helium Assisted Navigator (LOHAN). LOHAN works like this: a helium balloon will lift a launch truss with the Vulture 2 attached; after reaching an altitude of around 100,000 feet, the Vulture 2 will rocket horizontally off of the floating truss; the balloon will pop and the truss falls with a parachute while the Vulture 2 glides to a landing. The Vulture 1 successfully demonstrated the viability of the project at scale:
The components of Vulture 2 are currently being printed, but here’s a glimpse of the CAD files:
Source: The Register