Aerospace company Relativity has signed an agreement with NASA and secured an incentive package from the Mississippi Development Authority for the expansion of facilities at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, MS. The historic facility first opened in 1961 and is today NASA’s largest rocket engine testing site.
Through its agreement with NASA, Relativity will establish a new robotic 3D printing rocket factory and an expanded testing facility for the autonomous production of the company’s Terran 1 rocket launch vehicles.
The expansion will rely upon existing NASA infrastructure at the site, including the exclusive use of 220,000 square feet of space in building 9101 over a nine-year lease. The facility also includes an 80-foot-high bay, a number of bridge cranes and extensive industrial infrastructure. Relativity will also be granted the option to extend the lease at the Stennis Space Center for an additional ten years.
As part of its deal, Relativity is receiving an incentive package from the Mississippi Development Authority, which includes a significant cost reimbursement and tax incentives for the company’s employment and capital investments for advanced aerospace manufacturing and technology development in the southern state.
“We are excited to partner with NASA and the Mississippi Development Authority to bring our patented 3D printing rocket platform to Hancock County,” said Jordan Noone, Co-Founder and CTO of Relativity. “We believe this groundbreaking technology is the future of aerospace manufacturing, and we look forward to bringing this innovation to the Gulf Coast.”
Relativity has developed a unique aerospace platform capable of building and launching rockets within days (compared to the more conventional timeframe of multiple years). The platform integrates a number of cutting-edge technologies, including metal 3D printing, machine learning, software and robotics. Thanks to its additive approach, the company has also drastically reduced part count (by 100x) compared to traditional rockets.
Presently, Relativity is on track for its first orbital launch in 2020. At the Stennis Space Center, company will be building first stage assembly, engine integration and testing and full 3D printing and robotics-enabled production line. The use of the state-of-the-art site and its own aerospace platform will enable the company to take big steps towards its long-term goal of 3D printing the first rocket made on Mars.
In terms of employment, the Relativity expansion is expected to create a total of 200 jobs and bring in investments of $59 million to the state of Mississippi. “The Mississippi Gulf Coast has a strong aerospace presence, and Relativity’s expansion at Stennis further positions our state as a leader in this prominent sector,” said Governor Phil Bryant. “The important work that will be done for Relativity by our skilled workforce will play a crucial role in developing new methods to connect to outer space and other planets.”
“This agreement demonstrates again NASA’s commitment to work with our industry partners to expand commercial access to low-Earth orbit,” commented Dr. Rick Gilbrech, Director, Stennis Space Center. “This helps NASA maintain focus on the ambitious Artemis program that will land the first female and the next male on the south pole of the moon by 2024. Relativity is a valuable member of the Stennis federal city and we look forward to building on our already successful partnership. This is a significant expansion of their presence at Stennis and we appreciate their confidence in making south Mississippi an integral part of their future.”
Relativity also has an agreement with NASA to launch rocket from the Launch Complex 16 at Cape Canaveral in Florida.