Can You 3D Print Your Own Rocket? Relativity Space Does!
3D printing is revolutionizing everything from race cars to rockets. Even production cars are benefiting from the technology. Now an aerospace company in California is preparing its first 3D printed rocket for launch later this year. And it’s working on a second, larger 3D printed rocket, too.
The first Relativity Space rocket launch is later this year
Relativity Space is currently preparing its Terran 1 rocket for its first launch later this year. But it is also developing a 216-foot rocket it will launch in 2024 called Terran R. It will carry 20 times more payload than Terran 1. It is also fully reusable.
Relativity says with 3D printing its rockets have 100 less parts than a comparable rocket. The process is also 10-times faster to develop and requires few tooling parts to make components. It also simplifies the supply chain process because essentially you’re making your own parts.
Every component of the Rocket Space Terran 1 and Terran R rockets is 3D printed
Relativity combines robotics and patented 3D technology for its manufacturing. The process is proprietary to Relativity. It improves every aspect of rocket research, development, launch, cost, and payloads.
The company believes that if humanity is to live on Mars it must embrace 3D technology to survive there. Relativity wants to make a rocket with its technology on the planet Mars. The process and functions are able to be set up anywhere. It printed the Terran 1 second-stage rocket in just a few weeks.
Each rocket engine can reach up to 302,000 lbs of thrust
The Terrain R has the ability to launch a 44,000 lb payload into low Earth orbit. It comes out to be 216-feet tall and 16-feet in diameter. The seven engines themselves will be 3D printed Aeon R rocket engines. Each of the engines can reach up to 302,000 lbs of thrust. Relativity has budgeted $650 million for the Terran R project.
Currently, there are nine launch projects already scheduled for the Terran 1 rocket. They come from both the private sector and the government. Its first launch is scheduled for 2024.