Relativity Space has just secured a military project with the Pentagon. This is a major step forward for their 3D printed rocket designs. The company is currently working on a transport system for satellites ranging up to 1,250 kilograms to low Earth orbit.
Tim Ellis, CEO, has clarified in no uncertain terms that they are not shifting to a solely public sector mode. “We won’t just be a government contractor. We have significant commercial interests, but we really think we can serve both markets,” Ellis said in an interview with SpaceNews.
While the company has not signed any contracts on paper, they have commercial and government deals in terms of letters of intent and memoranda of understanding. The US-based company is expecting to run its Terran 1 rocket in trials by about 2020, hoping for commercial launches by 2021. NASA is currently testing the Terran’s engine at the Stennis Space Center.
3D Printing a Rocket
We’ve previously covered Relativity’s Stargate printer and its capabilities. Being one of, if not the largest printers, in the world, it is central to Relativity Space’s productions. “Many companies are doing components piece by piece. We are going all in, printing pretty much the entire thing. We really think that’s the future.” Said Ellis.
They want to expand the role of 3D printing in aerospace development, whereas other companies are more hesitant. They hope to print all of the components and design them in a way that allows for easy repairs in orbital conditions. This would conform to the military’s plans for the future of their satellites.
While a military project is a surefire sign of success, Ellis is aware of the intense red tape that comes along with these sorts of projects. The company is also part of the National Space Council’s advisory group. He hopes that their presence can streamline production and provide more opportunities for innovative designs. It’s safe to say that the company will be playing a prominent role in the future of space travel.
Featured image courtesy of Relativity Space.