Manufacturing Memories: Manual Machining for NASA

Historic image shows machining of a space shuttle main engine injector in 1977.

Brace yourselves, baby boomers: this picture is nearly 40 years old.

 (Image courtesy of NASA.)

(Image courtesy of NASA.)

The image, which recently made it to the front page of Reddit, shows a workman sporting distinctively ‘70s fashion reaming holes to the proper size and alignment for the space shuttle main engine’s injector body. Propellants passed through these holes on their way to the combustion chamber. Rocketdyne, then a division of Rockwell International, produced the engines under contract to the Marshall Space Flight Center.

Not only does this image give us a glimpse into NASA’s past, but it also illustrates just how far machining technology has come over the past four decades.

Check out that C-clamp!