Relativity Space successfully launches Terran 1 rocket

3D printing news

Relativity Space this week successfully launched its 3D printed Terran 1 rocket, though the two-stage launch vehicle failed to reach orbit.

The ‘Good Luck, Have Fun’ launch represented a relative success after two failed attempts to commence the launch earlier this month. On Wednesday March 22 at23:25 local time,Terran-1 left its launch pad in Cape Canaveral in Florida and flew for severalminutes before falling back to Earth.

Terran 1’s launch got off to a great start with the vehicle surviving Max Q, whereby structural loads are said to be at their highest, with the first and second stages of the rocket separating successfully. The rocket did not manage to reach orbit, however.

Using its Stargate metal 3D printing technology, the Terran 1 rocket is said to be 85% 3D printed by mass, and represents the first rocket to be mostly made with additive manufacturing to successfully be launched. It measures 110ft-tall and 7.5ft-wide, and is equipped with nine Aeon engines on its first stage and one Aeon Vac on its second stage. The rocket launched without a customer payload.

T-3 minutes. Let’s. Do. This.
— Relativity Space (@relativityspace) March 23, 2023

Before the launch on Wednesday night, Relativity CEO Tim Ellis tweeted to say: “Today, I’m incredibly proud of our team and all the people that believed in me against all odds to get here. I get asked all the time how I’m feeling – proud and surreal! It’s an intense feeling stepping up to the global stage on the eve of our first launch. But we are ready.”

He later added: “First live launch I’ve ever seen raw with me own two eyes. I told myself when I founded Relativity Space that my first launch viewing would be our own rocket, as motivation of make it there, and here we are. What a sight to behold, feel, and hear – indescribably awe inspiring.”

Relativity’s SVP of Additive and Software Engineering Scott Van Vliet also posted on Twitter to say, “Last night history was made! The world’s first 3D printed rocket – built by an incredible team in Long Beach, tested & launched by amazing people at Stennis & the Cape – made its ascent into the heavens and proved to the world that it can be done.”

Van Vliet appeared on the Additive Insight podcast in September 2022 to discuss Relativity’s use of 3D printing and the ambitions driving the company.

Additive Insight by TCT · #99 Scott Van Vliet on the use of 3D printing at Relativity Space

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