A 3D-printed rocket will go into space in 2022 and could help people on their journey to Mars

In a major premiere, the American startup Relativity Space is working on two different models of fully 3D-printed rockets! Terran 1 is currently in the test phase and is scheduled to launch into space in early 2022. The goal of Relativity Space is to build a fast and autonomous 3D production system that could one day even help people on their missions on Mars. Faced with tough, established competitors like SpaceX (a NASA partner) and Blue Origin, Relativity Space plans to differentiate itself with its ability to build fully 3D-printed modules. The startup relies on a radically simplified production chain that can build a rocket with 100 times fewer parts than the competition in just 60 days.

Its 3D printing platform can print metal parts up to three meters in diameter and seven meters in height. The 3D printer in question is equipped with an impressive robotic arm that can print these huge parts in a matter of days. 3D printing has many advantages, such as reducing the number of parts, but also increasing reliability. Ultimately, it’s about cutting costs and offering devices that can be reused multiple times.

On paper, the Terran-1 rocket consists of two stages and can put large satellites into orbit weighing more than a ton. A first flight is planned for 2022. The Terran R is a far more impressive rocket that is still under development and could be launched as early as 2024. In both cases, the takeoffs will be from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Aiming at Mars

But Relativity Space doesn’t want to stop there. As soon as its 3D printing technology is perfected, the startup plans to make it available for the bases and colonies that could one day be built on the planet Mars. Autonomous 3D printing could indeed play a role in future life on the Red Planet and in the development of various modules for living or moving.

See how Terran 1 and Terran R are built in this video:

Prepare to Launch 2021

In this regard, Relativity Space has a long-term vision of 3D printing serving humanity on Earth, in space and on Mars.

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