Relativity Space to launch AM-built rocket under new NASA launch contract

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​Californian-based Relativity Space - which is building a rocket to launch into space made from additive manufactured parts - has been selected by NASA to place CubeSats into low Earth orbit as part of its Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 (VCLS Demo 2) contract.

Under this contract, Relativity Space, that has its main headquarters in Los Angeles, explains that it will demonstrate its capabilities by launching Terran 1, reported to be the first entirely additively manufactured rocket.

The launch is scheduled to take place by 30 June, 2022, from Relativity’s orbital launch site at Cape Canaveral, Cape Canaveral Launch Complex-16.

This agreement marks the 8th announced launch customer for Relativity and the company’s second publicly-announced US government contract, following Relativity being awarded the role of launch partner for Lockheed Martin’s NASA Tipping Point Mission.

Relativity Space says it is building an ‘entirely new value chain’ to integrate additive manufacturing, artificial intelligence (AI), and autonomous robotics.

This factory of the future is described as a vertically-integrated technology platform that enables Relativity to build and launch rockets in less than sixty days, with 100 times fewer parts and a simplified supply chain.

The company’s software-defined approach reportedly creates significantly higher reliability, by introducing automation and reducing risk at every level of design, test and build.

Relativity Space CEO and co-founder Tim Eillis says: “NASA’s efforts to expand launch options are vital for the future growth of space access. We appreciate NASA’s selection of our 3D printing approach for our launch vehicle, Terran 1.”