Relativity Space has had a wild ride to launch

by Ana Lopez

Relativity Space will try to make history with the first launch of the 110-meter Terran 1 rocket tomorrow afternoon. Founded in 2015 by Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone, the company is best known for its innovative 3D printing technology: Terran 1 is 85% mass-3D-3D printed, and that even includes the rocket motors. The company has made big bets and has even bigger ambitions, with Relativity CEO Tim Ellis echoing SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s Martian ambitions.

“Our long-term mission remains that we want to help build an industrial base on Mars and make humanity multiplanetary,” Ellis told businessupdates.org.

The company has made many headlines in its eight-year history. Here are the top 10 moments from the TC archives.

We first wrote about Relativity in 2017, when the company only had 14 (!) full-time employees. We note that the company aims to reduce the cost of missile launches tenfold using the 3D printing process.

Relativity has won a multi-year contract from the US Air Force to operate missile launch facilities at Florida’s Cape Canaveral Air Force Station – the very location from which Relativity hopes to launch Terran 1 tomorrow.

TC’s Darrell Etherington spoke to CEO Tim Ellis about the economics behind Relativity Space just a few months after the company raised $140 million. (TC+)

At full speed, Relativity announced its new home: a huge warehouse-style building in Long Beach, California.

The company announced the massive raise in November 2020, which was followed shortly by an aggressive expansion of headcount, facilities and, well, everything.

Relativity finally revealed what’s coming after Terran 1: Terran R, a much bigger and even more ambitious 3D-printed rocket – with full reusability.

Less than a year after closing $500 million, the company managed to raise another $650 million to scale up Terran R development.

Relativity expanded its footprint by a factor of 10 with a new 1,000,000 square foot facility in Long Beach.

We broke the news last year that Relativity had landed a huge deal with UK satellite constellation operator OneWeb, plus it had $1.2 billion in firm Terran R launch contracts – contracts the company managed to land before even a single rocket into orbit around the earth.

Relativity announced new plans with startup Impulse Space, founded by SpaceX’s former CTO of propulsion, to land a spacecraft on Mars as early as 2024 (yes, you read that right).

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