In the world of New Space, there are traditional companies, which are content to make rocket launchers or satellites. Then there are the others, with their projects of all kinds, this is the case of SpaceX which multiplies the Star offers to travel in space with the Dear Moon mission until a probable return to the Moon in NASA's Artemis program. In this second category of company, there is Relativity Space . The young company is not afraid of anything and simply offers to build a rocket with ... a 3D printer.
While this crazy idea may seem completely utopian, you will be amazed to learn that the prototype of the first stage of the company's Terran 1 rocket has just successfully passed a battery of tests, and that a first flight is planned for the beginning of the year 2022.
A first flight in 2022
In detail these are the hydraulic, cryogenic and first stage pressure building that were successfully completed, the company announced in a press release on October 8. While 3D construction may seem like a cutting edge technique, capable of doing little in orbit, Relativtiy Space's rocket, dubbed Terrran 1, has nothing to envy of its more classically constructed comrades.
In fact, the rocket will have the mission of launching satellites into orbit. The young company, which travaille on the project since 2017 has also announced that the total payload that will be sent into orbit is expected to exceed one tonne; enough to stay within industry standards currently.
New rocket, new printer
To make its own 3D printed rocket, the young company could not use a classic 3D printer. The company has indeed started its work by designing a robotic arm, similar to a very large 3D printer, which can build parts of the rocket in just a few days.
If the launch of the rocket is successful early next year, Relativity Space could hit the jackpot. The company, which is already a unicorn in termy stock market speculation, could enter the world of New Space through the front door with unbeatable launch prices into orbit.