Launch of 3D-Printed Rocket Fails to Reach Orbit



On Wednesday night, the long-anticipated test flight of Relativity Space’s revolutionary rocket – almost entirely 3D printed – took off from Cape Canaveral Space Force station but failed three minutes into flight. The upper stage appeared to ignite and then shut down, sending it crashing into the Atlantic after the first stage separated as planned.

Relativity Space has garnered recognition as a leader in creating highly efficient rockets through 3D printing technology, with 85% (110 feet) of Terran being composed of 3D printed parts. This is especially impressive given that other space companies also make use of this technology for their rockets, though typically with only a few 3D-printed pieces compared to Relativity Space’s efforts.

Founded by two aerospace engineers in 2015, Relativity Space quickly gained traction with investors and venture capitalists for its ambitious ambitions: making space travel more accessible and cost-effective through innovative rocket manufacturing methods and technologies. As part of this goal, they sought to reduce lead times and expenses associated with constructing traditional rockets, which can take months or even years to build.

The test flight was seen by many in the aerospace industry as a potential milestone for Relativity Space, as well as an opportunity that could spark investment into the company’s projects, which include larger Terran rockets capable of ferrying cargo payloads into space. Sadly however, after three minutes midair failure brought all hope crashing back down to Earth.

Despite the setback, those who were onboard were not deterred from pursuing their mission further. “When you think about what we’re doing at Relativity – we are building large launchers from scratch using robotics,” said Tim Ellis, CEO of Relativity Space in a statement on Thursday morning.”It is really hard work…we will figure out what went wrong and we will move forward while learning lessons along the way.” His sentiments were echoed by cofounder Jordan Noone who shared his optimism saying: “We are committed to advancing humanity’s access to space.”

He also added that their team will continue their hard work and dedication towards achieving their stated mission: “to revolutionize every step of launch vehicle production using autonomous automation”. Many experts have noted that although there may be bumps along the road for Relativity Space and other ventures similar to it, this should not take away from the progress made thus far or dampen enthusiasm for future efforts – if anything it should serve as a reminder of how much time and effort goes into each successful attempt. It is surely only a matter of time before humankind accomplishes its goals on our quest to explore beyond our planet’s boundaries.


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