3D printed rocket heads to space in 2022, could help humans on their quest to Mars
For a great first, the American startup Relativity Space is working on two different rocket models entirely printed in 3D! Currently in the test phase, Terran 1 should be launched in space in early 2022. Relativity Space’s ambition is to set up a fast and autonomous 3D production system that could one day even help humans in their missions on Mars. . Faced with strong and established competitors such as SpaceX (a NASA partner) and Blue Origin, Relativity Space intends to stand out through its ability to build fully 3D printed modules. The startup is betting on a radically simplified production line, capable of building a rocket with 100 times fewer parts than the competition, and in just 60 days.
Its 3D printing platform can print metal parts up to three meters in diameter and seven meters high. The 3D printer in question is equipped with an impressive robotic arm capable of printing these huge parts in a matter of days. 3D printing has many advantages, such as reducing the number of parts, but also increasing their reliability. Ultimately, the goal is to reduce costs and offer equipment that can be reused several times.
On paper, the Terran 1 rocket consists of two stages and is capable of orbiting large satellites weighing more than a ton. A first flight is scheduled for 2022. The Terran R is a much more impressive rocket, still under development, which could be launched as early as 2024. In both cases, launches will take place from Cape Canaveral, Florida.
Aim for Mars
But Relativity Space does not intend to stop there. Once its 3D printing technology has been developed, the startup intends to make it available to bases and colonies that could one day establish themselves 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 Terran 1 and Terran R being built in this video:
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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