Design Engineering

Relativity Space unveils first reusable 3D-printed rocket

Seattle-based firms’ Terran R raises $650m to scale additively manufactured launch vehicle.

June 28, 2021   by DE Staff

Size comparison of Relativity Space’s Terran 1 (left) and Terran R 3D printed rockets. (Photo credit: Relativity Space)

Relativity Space revealed its Terran R rocket, a fully reusable, entirely 3D-printed launch vehicle. According to the company, the two-stage, 216-foot-tall rocket will be capable of launching 20,000kg to low Earth orbit (LEO). The company’s proprietary 3D printing process utilizes software-driven manufacturing, exotic materials and unique design geometries that are not possible in traditional manufacturing, the company says.

“From our founding days in Y Combinator just five years ago, we planned on 3D printing Terran 1 and then Terran R – a 20X larger fully reusable rocket – on our Factory of the Future platform,” said Tim Ellis, CEO and co-founder of Relativity. “Today we are one step closer to this goal. Together with our first rocket Terran 1, our second product, Terran R, will continue to take advantage of Relativity’s disruptive approach to 3D printing – reduced part count, improved speed of innovation, flexibility, and reliability – to bring to market the next generation of launch vehicles.”

Terran R will be outfitted with seven 3D-printed Aeon R rocket engines capable of 302,000 lb. thrust each, while its upper stage houses one Aeon Vac engine. Starting in 2024, Terran R will launch from Launch Complex 16, the company’s site at Cape Canaveral, where Terran 1 is also set to launch this year.

The company has also closed a $650 million Series E equity funding round led by Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC , which the company says will enable the scaling of the Terran R program and long-term infrastructure development.

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Relativity says it has also completed printing more than 85% of the first Terran 1 orbital rocket, including its first and second stage, to keep its scheduled first launch by the end of this year from Cape Canaveral. The Terran 1 rocket recently landed customer contracts with TriSept, its first launch contract with the U.S. Department of Defense, and a Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 (VCLS Demo 2) contract with NASA.
www.relativityspace.com


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