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Use Giant 3D Printers To Make Rockets? This Will Change The Landscape Of The Rocket Industry

Nov 27, 2020

3D printed rocket manufacturer Relativity Space has completed a new round of financing of US$500 million. After this round of financing, Relativity Space’s valuation has climbed to US$2.3 billion, making it the second largest in the world after SpaceX. Valuable private aerospace company, Relativity Space hopes to use giant 3D printers to revolutionize the way rockets are made. The company’s focus is on the construction of the Terran 1 rocket. 95% of the rocket’s parts are manufactured using the world’s largest 3D printer developed by the company. Ellis emphasized that, compared with traditional rockets, 3D printing technology makes them less complex and faster to build or upgrade. Traditional rockets may only use 3D printed parts in a small number of structures. Terran 1 costs US$12 million per launch and is designed to carry 1,250 kg of scientific instruments to low Earth orbit. Terran 1 is in the middle of the US launch market, between Rocket Lab's Electron and SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket in terms of price and features.

3D printers to make rockets

Although Relativity’s first Terran 1 launcher has to wait until the second half of next year, the company has made significant progress in developing and verifying that its 3D printing technology can make rockets. A series of pressurization tests showed that the material is sufficient to complete the launch mission, and Relativity Space recently completed the full-time ignition experiment of its Aeon 1 engine, of which 9 engines Aeon 1 will power the Terran 1 rocket. The company also moved into its new Long Beach, California headquarters this summer, which is a 120,000 square foot factory that will serve as the basis for its manufacturing and launch operations. Relativity Space also conducted engine tests at NASA's Stennis Space Center and a launch pad test in Florida, USA.