Archive for the ‘relativity space’ Category

Relativity has a bold plan to take on SpaceX, and investors are buying it

June 8th, 2021
A rendering of the Terran R rocket in flight.

Enlarge / A rendering of the Terran R rocket in flight. (credit: Relativity Space)

Relativity Space announced Tuesday morning that it has raised an additional $650 million in private capital and that this money will fuel an ambitious agenda of 3D printing large, reusable rockets.

The new funding will accelerate development of the “Terran-R” launch vehicle, Relativity Chief Executive Tim Ellis said in an interview. This large orbital rocket will be about the same size as SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. However, Ellis said, the entire vehicle will be reusable—the first and second stages, as well as the payload fairing. And it will have the capacity to lift 20 tons to low Earth orbit in reusable mode, about 20 percent more than a Falcon 9 booster that lands on a drone ship.

With the Terran-R vehicle, therefore, Ellis said Relativity Space aspires to not just match the remarkably capable Falcon 9 rocket but to exceed its performance.

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Relativity Space printed its Terran 1 rocket’s second stage in a few weeks

March 24th, 2021
Relativity Space tests a development version of its Terran 1 second stage at Stennis Space Center.

Enlarge / Relativity Space tests a development version of its Terran 1 second stage at Stennis Space Center. (credit: Relativity Space)

When Relativity Space was founded with the audacious idea of using 3D printing to manufacture pretty much the entirety of a small rocket, the premise sounded revolutionary. But if the company could pull it off, Relativity would have the potential to upend traditional rocket manufacturing, which in many respects remains a hands-on job.

There remain very real questions about whether or not this approach is ultimately feasible. The acid test will come when Relativity attempts to reach orbit. Nevertheless, the company’s 3D printing technology does seem to be working. Two recent milestones in the development of the company’s Terran 1 rocket, in fact, suggest the tech is working really well.

Second stage print

In an interview, Relativity CEO Tim Ellis said the company recently printed the second stage that will be used on the inaugural flight of the Terran 1 rocket, which is presently scheduled to take place before the end of 2021. The stage was printed at a rate of about 1 linear foot per day, so it took about three weeks in total to print the 20-foot tall second stage.

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