Relativity Space has closed a $140 million Series C funding round bringing them closer to their ambitious goal: To become the world’s first company to launch a fully 3D printed rocket into orbit. What makes this project so interesting is the sheer speed of production. According to Relativity Space, the rocket will be 3D printed in just two months.
The funding round was led by Bond and Tribe Capital.
The private American aerospace manufacturer chose to use 3D printing to utilize the benefits of quicker design iteration, less lead time for launches, lower costs, and fewer parts. In fact, the launch vehicle is made of less than 1,000 components which are all 3D printed.
“Relativity was founded with the long term vision of 3D printing the first rocket made on Mars and expanding the possibilities for human experience in our lifetime. With the close of our Series C funding, we are now one step closer to that vision by being fully funded to launch Terran 1 to orbit as the world’s first entirely 3D printed rocket,” said CEO Tim Ellis.
Relativity Begins Testing Program
The company, which started in 2015, is now working on its testing program to precede the first launch. The Aeon 1 engine is an open expander cycle engine that has seen over 200 test firings. This engine will power the company’s first launch vehicle, the Terran 1.
“We are excited to complete the development of Terran 1, providing an entirely new value chain for our customers. As we build Terran 1 we will continue to expand the Stargate factory, achieving another milestone towards our long term vision,” said Jordan Noone, Co-founder, and CTO of Relativity Space.
Stargate, the world’s largest metal 3D printer developed by the company, and a proprietary metal alloy are used to produce parts for Aeon 1 and Terran 1.
Terran 1’s first commercial flight will not happen until 2021 but a test flight is planned for next year. This launcher is in the small lift class but can launch up to 1,250 kg into a 185 km low Earth orbit. It costs $10 million per launch and was designed for the satellite constellation launch market.