AerospaceAM for Space

Relativity Space to launch 3D printed rockets from Cape Canaveral site

The startup signed an agreement with the U.S. Air Force

Stay up to date with everything that is happening in the wonderful world of AM via our LinkedIn community.

Relativity Space, an aerospace startup with a focus on 3D printed rockets, recently penned a deal with the U.S. Air Force to begin launching its rockets from the Launch Complex 16 at Cape Canaveral in Florida. Launch Complex 16, also known as LC-16, is something of a historic site: it was built in the late 1950s to launch LGM-25 Titan missiles, was used by NASA for some time and has not seen a launch since 1988’s Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.

Founded in 2015 by Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone, Relativity Space is quickly becoming one of the leading satellite launch companies largely thanks to its AM manufacturing approach. The LA-based company, which this past March announced a $35 million investment round, has developed the world’s largest metal 3D printer, the Stargate, which can be used to produce up to 95% of its rocket.

Relativity Space Cape Canaveral
Relativity Space’s Stargate 3D printer

In recent years, the company has reportedly test-fired over 100 rocket engines built from 3D printed components, proving the viability of the technology for space applications. Crucially, 3D printing has enabled Relativity Space to streamline rocket engine production, consolidating part numbers from over 100,000 to just 1,000.

The first rocket Relativity Space plans to launch from LC-16 in Cape Canaveral will be the Terran 1, a medium-sized low-Earth orbit launch vehicle with a maximum payload of 1,250 kg. According to Relativity Space, the Terran 1 can be 3D printed in just 60 days. As of yet, no expected launch date has been revealed.

If early launches from Cape Canaveral pass environmental and other tests, the startup could extend its contract with the U.S. Air Force to a 20 year exclusive lease. The LA startup also has an agreement with NASA to test its 3D printed engines at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

Down the line, Relativity Space also has intentions to bring its rocket 3D printing to Mars.

Research 2022
Polymer AM Market Opportunities and Trends

741 unique polymer AM companies individually surveyed and studied. Core polymer AM market generated $4.6 billion...

Tess Boissonneault

Tess Boissonneault is a Montreal-based content writer and editor with five years of experience covering the additive manufacturing world. She has a particular interest in amplifying the voices of women working within the industry and is an avid follower of the ever-evolving AM sector. Tess holds a master's degree in Media Studies from the University of Amsterdam.

Related Articles

Back to top button

We use cookies to give you the best online experience and for ads personalisation. By agreeing you accept the use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.

Privacy Settings saved!
Privacy Settings

When you visit any web site, it may store or retrieve information on your browser, mostly in the form of cookies. Control your personal Cookie Services here.

These cookies are necessary for the website to function and cannot be switched off in our systems.

In order to use this website we use the following technically required cookies
  • wordpress_test_cookie
  • wordpress_logged_in_
  • wordpress_sec

Decline all Services
Accept all Services



Join industry leaders and receive the latest insights on what really matters in AM!

This information will never be shared with 3rd parties

I’ve read and accept the privacy policy.*