Relativity is scheduled for its first launch of Terran 1, called “GLHF” (Good Luck, Have Fun), from Launch Complex 16 in Cape Canaveral, Florida. Our launch window opens at 1300ET on March 8, 2023. This launch of Terran 1 is the first orbital attempt by Relativity and will not include a customer payload.
Standing 110 ft. tall and 7.5 ft. wide, Terran 1 is the largest 3D printed object to attempt orbital flight. As a two-stage, expendable rocket, Terran 1 has nine 3D printed Aeon engines on its first stage and one Aeon Vac on its second stage.
Like its structure, all Relativity engines are entirely 3D printed, and use liquid oxygen (LOX) and liquid natural gas (LNG), which are not only the best for rocket propulsion, but also for reusability, and the easiest to eventually transition to methane on Mars.
Relativity Space was founded in 2015 by CEO Tim Ellis and CTO Jordan Noone on the idea that existing NewSpace companies were not tapping enough into the potential of additive manufacturing (3D printing).
In 2020 and 2021, Relativity received $1.3 billion in funding with a valution of over $4 billion. The funding will help the development of a fully reusable medium lift launch vehicle, the Terran R, targeting the first orbital launch not earlier than 2024. Relativity Space has investors including Baillie Gifford, Blackrock, BOND, Coatue, Fidelity, General Catalyst, ICONIQ Capital, K5 Global, Mark Cuban, Playground Global, Social Capital, Tiger Global, Tribe Capital, Y Combinator, etc.
In June 2022, Relativity Space made a deal to OneWeb’s second-gen broadband satellites to orbit in 2025. The mission will be completed using the Terran R, which marked a total value of binding launch deals for that rocket to over $1.2 billion despite the company having yet to have launched their first rocket.
Terran 1 is an expendable launch vehicle under development that will consist of two stages. The first stage uses nine Aeon 1 engines, while the second stage uses a single vacuum-optimized Aeon 1 engine. The maximum payload was expected to be 1,250 kg (2,760 lb) to 185 km (115 mi) low Earth orbit (LEO), normal payload 900 kg (2,000 lb) to 500 km (310 mi) Sun-synchronous orbit (SSO), high-altitude payload 700 kg (1,500 lb) to 1,200 km (750 mi) SSO. Relativity’s advertised launch price was US$12 million per Terran 1 mission in June 2020.
Terran R is a medium-lift two-stage, fully reusable launch vehicle planned by Relativity Space. Compared to the smaller, expendable Terran 1, it is constructed using the same 3D printing technologies, but is substantially larger, with a maximum payload capacity of 20,000 kg (44,000 lb) to low Earth orbit. The first stage will use seven Aeon R engines, whilst the second stage will use an upgraded Aeon 1 engine with a copper chamber. With this design, Relativity is aiming to exceed the Falcon 9 payload to low-Earth orbit by approximately 20 percent, with a target payload mass as of June 2021 of approximately 20 tonnes (44,000 lb).
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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