- 3D printing company Relativity Space postponed the first launch attempt of its debut rocket on Wednesday.
- The Terran 1 rocket is to launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida.
- This mission marks the biggest test of the company’s ambitious manufacturing approach.
3D printing firm Relativity Space delayed its first launch attempt on Wednesday, stopping short of the most important test of the company’s ambitious manufacturing approach.
The company’s Terran 1 rocket is designed to launch from LC-16, the launch pad at the US Space Force facility at Cape Canaveral, Florida. The mission, called “Good Luck, Have Fun,” aims to successfully reach orbit.
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Relativity had a window between 1 pm and 4 pm ET to launch on Wednesday. After a few short delays and countdown resets — common in preparation for a rocket’s first launch — the company called the attempt a “scrub,” meaning it was rescheduled to a later day.
“Thanks for playing,” Relativity’s launch director Clay Walker said on the company’s webcast.
In a tweet, Relativity co-founder and CEO Tim Ellis said it would be “a few days before” the company could make another attempt.
While many space companies are using 3D printing, also known as additive manufacturing, Relativity has actually gone for broke. The company believes its approach will allow orbital-class rockets to be built much faster than traditional methods, requiring thousands of fewer parts and allowing for changes to be made through software. The Long Beach, California-based facility aims to build rockets from raw materials in as little as 60 days.
The Terran 1 is 110 feet tall, with nine engines powering the lower first stage and one engine powering the upper second stage. Its Aeon engines are 3D printed and the rocket uses liquid oxygen and liquid natural gas as dual fuels. The company says 85% of this first Terran 1 rocket was 3D printed.
Relativity is pricing Terran 1 at $12 million per launch. It is designed to deliver about 1,250 kg into low Earth orbit. This puts the Terran 1 in the “medium-lift” section of the US launch market, between Rocket Lab’s Electron and SpaceX’s Falcon 9 in both price and capability.
Terran 1’s debut on Wednesday does not carry a payload or satellite inside the rocket. The company emphasized that the launch is a prototype.
IN series of tweets Prior to the mission, Ellis shared his expectations for the mission: he noted that reaching the maximum air pressure milestone about 80 seconds after liftoff would be a “key tipping point” to test the company’s technology.
Relativity is already working on a successor to the Terran 1, a larger reusable line of missiles called the Terran R.
To date, the company has raised over $1.3 billion in capital at a $4.2 billion valuation. It continues to expand its footprint, with a head office and plant in California, engine test labs in Mississippi, and a launch site in Florida.
Astronautics founding fellow Jeff Bezos, whose Blue Origin company is based where Ellis previously worked, wished Relativity good before launch. Bezos kept in touch with Ellis and visited Relativity’s headquarters in early 2021, according to CNBC.
Credit: www.cnbc.com /