Having recently closed a Series B financing round, orbital rocket startup Relativity Space has secured a whopping $35 million in funding. The new investment will enable the Los Angeles company to expand and advance its disruptive rocket manufacturing process which relies increasingly on additively manufactured parts.
The satellite launch market has grown considerably in recent years—even reaching up to $7 billion in worth—largely thanks to companies like Relativity Space which are harnessing new design and manufacturing processes such as 3D printing to reinvigorate and practically reinvent rocket production.
Founded in 2015, Relativity Space has been a key player in the orbital launch sector, demonstrating how additive manufacturing can be used to simplify and improve rocket design as well as to significantly speed up lead times and cut back on costs.
Over the past three years, the company has test-fired over 100 rocket engines built with 3D printed parts and has managed to reduce rocket part count from 100,000 components to just 1,000 thanks to its innovative software and hardware solution. Impressively, the company has leveraged AM to produce 95% of its rockets’ major parts.
Notably, Relativity Space is also responsible for developing “Stargate,” purportedly the world’s largest metal 3D printer. Using proprietary alloys and a multiple print head system, the highly scalable 3D printing setup is capable of building up complex rocket components in-situ and at impressive speeds.
The Stargate additive manufacturing system is not only being used to produce custom rockets built for launching large payload satellites, however, but could one day also be used on Mars to 3D print rockets on the red planet.
“The future of space requires faster, cheaper, more flexible rocket production and launch that is simply not possible with traditional approaches,” said Tim Ellis, CEO and Co-founder of Relativity Space. “By leveraging an all-in approach to 3D printing, we will fully automate the production of rockets.
“This will change the way the launch industry views lead times, product iteration rates, and costs. Our technology development is also on-path toward scaling and sustaining an interplanetary society. We will build toward this amazing future far faster with our new capabilities.”
The $35 million in funding was raised through a Series B financing round led by Playground Global and which included existing investors Social Capital, Y Combinator Continuity and Mark Cuban. At present, the company’s total venture funding is over $45 million.
According to the company, the new capital will enable it to grow its business and further hone its rocket manufacturing process. The funding will also be put towards furthering its partnerships with various government and commercial bodies.