Relativity Space announces the date of the first launch of a 3D-printed rocket

Relativity Space has announced that it has received permission from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for the orbital launch of the Terran 1 rocket. It is scheduled for March 8.

3D-printed rocket

Relativity Space was founded in 2015. Its management has made a bet on the creation of rockets that will be completely printed on 3D printers. According to the designers’ idea, such an innovation will radically speed up the process of building carriers, which in turn will significantly reduce their cost. To do this, the company has acquired the world’s largest printer designed for metal printing.

A fully assembled Terran 1 rocket from Relativity Space on the launch pad. Source: Relativity Space

Terran 1 is the first Relativity Space orbital rocket. It has a two-stage design. Its height is 35.2 meters, its diameter is 2.3 meters. The first stage of the Terran 1 is equipped with nine Aeon engines, the second with one Aeon Vac engine, which are also printed on a 3D printer. Power units use methane as fuel and liquid oxygen as an oxidizer. The rocket will be able to carry up to 1,250 kg of cargo into low Earth orbit (LEO). The cost of one launch is estimated at USD 12 million.

First launch of Terran 1

FAA approval was obtained after Relativity Space conducted a successful series of first and second stage burns of Terran 1. Now the rocket is located at Cape Canaveral and specialists are preparing for its debut launch (the mission was called Good Luck, Have Fun). Currently, it is scheduled for March 8.

Testing of the first stage of the Terran 1 rocket. Photo: Relativity Space

As part of the first flight, there will be no cargo from commercial customers on board the Terran 1. It is also worth paying attention to the following fact: if successful, it will become not only the first 3D-printed rocket in history to reach orbit, but also the first methane rocket to reach this achievement. Recall that last year the Chinese company Landspace tried to launch a methane rocket Zhuque-2. But it crashed, never being able to reach orbit.

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