Relativity Space’s reusable rocket can be 3D printed within 60 days
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When revealing its Terran R rocket plan, Relativity Space described it as a two-stage launch vehicle. It is 216 feet (66 meters) high and 16 feet (4.9 meters) in diameter. The California-based company is designing this rocket to launch satellites and multi-planetary travel, so that it has the ability to lift 20,000 kilograms (approximately 44,000 pounds) into low-Earth orbit, which is close to the 22,800 kilograms of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. (Approximately 50,265 pounds) payload capacity.
The rocket will be powered by the company’s seven 3D printed Aeon R rocket engines, each capable of generating 302,000 pounds of thrust, and the upper stage will only carry one 3D printed Aeon Vac engine . Relativity Space said the rocket will be fully reusable, including these engines, first and second stages, and a 5-meter fairing used to protect its payload. It is not clear at this stage how it will recover all these things after launch, although such a feat will not be easy.
Relativity Space also describes the rocket It is the world’s first rocket entirely made of 3D printing. Its manufacturing will use a combination of artificial intelligence and autonomous robots to print structures and engines, a process the company says results in fewer parts and the ability to turn raw materials into a stand-alone rocket within 60 days. It also said that this method allows for unique aerodynamic features and geometric shapes, which are not possible in traditional production methods.
“The mission of Relativity when it was founded was to 3D print the entire rocket and build an industrial base for mankind on Mars,” said Tim Ellis, CEO and co-founder of Relativity Space. “We are inspired to turn this vision into reality, and believe that dozens to hundreds of companies are needed to build a multi-planetary future for mankind on Mars. Scalable autonomous 3D printing inevitably needs to flourish on Mars. Development, and Terran R is the second product step in the long-term journey Relativity is planning.”
Relativity Space plans to launch Terran R from Cape Canaveral until 2024, but said it has signed the first customer contract for the aircraft. Terran R is actually Relativity Space’s second rocket, following its first much smaller Terran 1, which will also be 3D printed and will be launched for the first time this year. Although it is only 1/20 the size of Terran R, the company says it has won nine contracts from private and public sector customers to launch payloads into space using Terran 1.
Ellis said: “Together with our first rocket Terran 1, our second product Terran R will continue to use Relativity’s disruptive approach to 3D printing-reducing the number of parts and increasing innovation. Speed, flexibility and reliability-bring the next generation of launch vehicles to the market.”
The company also revealed that it has completed a US$650 million Series E equity financing, which will enable the Terran R project The scale and long-term infrastructure development becomes possible.