Relativity Space has reported in attracting $ 35 million of investor funds, which will soon be spent on the creation of the second Stargate complex. Today it is called the largest 3D printer in the world, although in fact it is a mini-factory based on robotic systems. It is specially designed to print a full-fledged space rocket one day - almost entirely.
Relativity Space has been operating since 2015 and aims to create an alternative class of launch vehicles for launching payloads into near space. They will not be assembled from parts, but printed immediately in large fragments on the Stargate complex. Having a second 3D printer will allow the company to start training staff in parallel with experiments. And by the end of this year to show real results.
A printed rocket is much cheaper than all others, already due to the fact that it has only 1, 000 nodes instead of 100, 000, as in the case of typical platforms. True, and the power of the carrier is symbolic, it will be able to put only 1250 kg of cargo into low-earth orbit. That is, we are talking about a one-time, simple launch costing less than $ 10 million, available to any customer - a startup simply has no competitors in this niche.
The experience of Relativity Space is so interesting to mankind that NASA has already leased the Stennis Space Center test site in Mississippi for 20 years. It is expected that the first printed engine of the Aeon model will be tested by the end of 2018, after which nine such engines will deliver the experimental Terran rocket into space in 2020. And if all goes well, commercial flights of printed rockets will begin in 2021.