Relativity Space's Terran 1, the world's first 3D-printed rocket, will be launched for the very first time on Wednesday, March 8, and you can watch the whole event being live-streamed in the video player below. If the launch is a success, it will become the largest 3D-printed object to achieve orbital flight.
Dubbed “Good Luck, Have Fun” (GLHF), the mission is scheduled to blast off from Cape Canaveral in Florida during a three-hour window that starts at 1:00 pm EST (6:00 pm GMT). The aim is to launch the 3D-printed rocket to an altitude of 500 kilometers (310 miles) while carrying a 1,250-kilogram (2,756-pound) payload.
The Terran 1 rocket stands 33 meters (110 feet) tall and 2.2 meters (7.5 feet) wide, which is relatively small compared to other rockets. Remarkably, up to 85 percent of the rocket’s mass has been fashioned by a 3D printer. This includes its engines, which will be fueled by liquid oxygen and liquid natural gas.
The company eventually hopes to ramp up its efforts to create rockets that are 95 percent 3D-printed and use methane as a fuel, which is considered to be the next-generation rocket propellent.
Like a handful of other private space companies, Relativity Space is experimenting with ways to make space travel cheaper, easier, and more accessible. They believe the answer may lie in 3D printing, which has the potential to speed up the manufacturing process.
Today comes the big moment when they will find out whether this dream is ready to fly or if it needs a little bit more work.
“Hard to believe the day is nearly here to launch Terran 1, our first rocket. 7 years ago, I co-founded Relativity Space, which feels like a lifetime ago, but is an incredibly short time frame in the scheme of things in aerospace,” Tim Ellis, CEO and co-founder of Relativity Space, tweeted on Tuesday.
“Especially starting as two people in a WeWork, truly from scratch, where we had to rally and scrap together every ounce of funding, team, facilities, and technology starting from absolutely nothing. Very hard to believe, and humbling to think, that in those years our incredible team managed to do so much,” Ellis continued.
All that’s left to say is: good luck, have fun!