March 4th, 2022
This week Relativity Space sent the second stage of Terran 1 from their Headquarters in Long Beach, California to the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi for testing. It arrived Monday night, and soon will undergo hot fire testing before it’s sent to Cape Canaveral to be mated with Stage 1 in preparations for their demo launch from LC-16.
This comes after the company completed full scale primary structures testing, which proved that the 3D printed rocket structure is ready to face flight loads back in February. Progress on their mission has continued on for many months now, even with rainbirds testing from LC-16 back in December of 2021.
Terran 1 is a next generation launch vehicle designed for the future of constellation deployment and resupply. Using a unique, groundbreaking, and software-driven architecture it is capable of accommodating the ever changing needs of satellite customers. All this while also claiming to be the most agile and affordable launch service on the market. It’s currently scheduled to fly some time in the near future with their Demo launch being named “Good luck, have fun” and will carry no payload.
Comprised of two stages, Terran one’s first stage is powered by nine Aeon 1 engines, using methane and oxygen propellants in a gas generator cycle, each engine producing 23,000 lbf of thrust. It’s second stage is powered by a single vacuum optimized version of Aeon 1 known as Aeon Vac, producing 28,300 lbf of thrust in vacuum. With payload fairings measuring 22ft long and 9.8ft in diameter, the rocket is capable of carrying up to 3,300 lbs. to LEO (Low Earth Orbit).
Relativity Space produces both the primary and secondary structure of Terran 1 using their Stargate 3D printer out of a proprietary aluminum alloy. The company states that 90% of the entire launch vehicle is made up of 3D printed parts, and also claims that they can reduce the part count in the vehicle by 100 times compared to traditionally manufactured rockets.
The current advertised price of launch has been increased to twelve million US as of last year after their initial price of ten million US in 2019.