A 3D-printed rocket successfully lifts off

Terran 1, from Relativity Space, has 85% of its components printed in 3D .


The  Terran 1 rocket , the first to have most of its components made with 3D printers , took off successfully last night from Cape Canaveral, Florida (USA), but, after passing the atmosphere, suffered a second stage failure that prevented it from reaching its intended orbit.

Even so, the liftoff of the rocket , manufactured by Relativity Space , served to demonstrate that 3D printing technologies are viable to withstand liftoff and to successfully withstand Max-Q, the highest stress state for its printed structures, he noted. the company on Twitter .

“Today is a great victory, with many historical firsts.” In the coming days “we will evaluate the flight data and provide public updates,” Relativity Space concluded .

Terran 1 and its expected release

After two failed attempts, on March 8 and 11, the Terran 1 rocket lifted off last night at 11:25 pm EDT (3:25 GMT), climbed in a straight line, then arced east over the Atlantic Ocean.

Two minutes and 50 seconds later, the first stage engines shut down as planned and the stage was successfully detached.

In the live broadcast, the camera mounted on the rocket showed the second stage engine starting to fire a few seconds later, but it did not seem to ignite at all. Almost 6 minutes after taking off, the company’s commentators confirmed that the vehicle had not reached orbit.

“Our team will carefully analyze the data to determine what has happened,” announced one of the commenters.

Carrying no payload on this launch, the Terran measures 35 meters long and 2.2 meters in diameter, and its engines – also 3D printed – use liquid oxygen and liquefied natural gas.

The two-stage expendable rocket , named “Good Luck, Have Fun,” has nine Aeon engines in its first stage and one Aeon 1 for the upper stage, and has the capacity to transport to orbit. terrestrial lowers a load of 1,250 kilos.

Terran 1 and 3D printing

Terran 1 is 85% built with technology based on 3D printing, but California-based Relativity Space ‘s goal is to get to 95% in future versions of the rocket, to be called the Terran R.

“Like its airframe, all of Relativity ‘s engines are fully 3D printed and use Liquid Oxygen (LOX) and Liquid Natural Gas (LNG), which are not only best for rocket propulsion, but also for reusability.” , details the company.

The future models prepared by Relativity Space , founded in 2015 by Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone, will be reusable, will exceed 60 meters in height and will be able to transport up to 20,000 kilos of cargo to low Earth orbit.