December 7, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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This company wants to compete with SpaceX by 3D printing rockets

This company wants to compete with SpaceX by 3D printing rockets

Relativity Space, an American space company founded in 2015, is making slow strides in developing a reusable rocket.

The company was founded with a wonderful purpose. After all, CEO Tim Ellis and CTO Jordan Noone felt that current airlines were not using 3D printing technology enough. Relativity Space now wants to become the first company to produce rockets in this way. This would make the production process cheaper and faster.

Initially, it will produce non-reusable spacecraft, the so-called Terran 1 model. The launch with the rocket will cost about $12 million. Next, the company also wants to develop reusable missiles to fight with companies like SpaceXAnd the blue origin And the rocket lab.

Relativistic space has generated a lot of interest in recent years, although it hasn’t been launched once yet. In total, it has already raised about $1.3 billion in capital and employs about a thousand employees.

First launch soon

These employees have not been sitting around in recent years. After all, the company built the world’s largest metal 3D printer, to produce Terran 1 rockets largely in-house.

At the end of October, the company will launch such a rocket into space for the first time During a test flight. The mission, called “GLHF,” or “Good luck, have fun,” a term often used in video games to congratulate an opponent, will verify that the Terran 1 missile is working properly.

And then the second Terran 1 will make another flight in December. During that second flight, the missile will level out A bunch of satellites Put it in orbit around the Earth. Relativity Space’s first customer is NASA.

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See Relativity Space 3D printer in action. (Source: YouTube / Relativity Space)

Although Terran 1 will not be reusable, almost a Should In today’s space race, it will be its successor, Terran R. This rocket will be launched on the market in 2025 and has been in development for a few years now. It now appears that this process is gaining momentum.

On Tuesday, October 18, Relativity Space announced that it had signed a deal with NASA to open test facilities for the Terran R and Aeon R engines. to expand significantly. After this expansion is completed next year, the company will own one of the largest testing facilities in the United States.

This should ensure that the Terran R sees the light of day quickly. And that cannot happen soon enough for the company and its customers. Relativity Space says it has already signed contracts worth $1.2 billion to launch the new rocket. It will consist of two drawers, both reusable. The Terran R should be able to lift about 20 tons into space, which puts it in the same segment as SpaceX’s Falcon 9.

However, the Terran R should be fully reusable, while the Falcon 9 can only land on the first stage. SpaceX’s next flagship, StarshipIt will also be completely reusable.