Terran 1

Relativity Space, a Los Angeles-based aerospace startup company, is set to make history with the launch of Terran 1, the world’s first 3D-printed rocket, on March 8. The launch is part of the “Good Luck, Have Fun” (GLHF) mission, which will take place at Launch Complex 16 on Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.

What is Terran 1?

Terran 1 will be the largest 3D-printed object to attempt an orbital flight, weighing 9,280 kilogrammes and standing 110 feet tall and 7.5 feet wide. It was designed to provide a low-cost and flexible approach to launching small and medium-sized payloads into orbit, helping to accelerate the development of space infrastructure.

The rocket’s first stage is powered by nine Aeon 1 engines, also designed and manufactured by Relativity Space. The engines are fueled by liquid oxygen and RP-1 kerosene, a common rocket fuel. Terran 1’s second stage uses a single Aeon 1 engine to put payloads into orbit.

What’s next for Terran 1?

Although Terran 1 won’t carry any payloads on its maiden flight, NASA has already signed a contract with the company to launch a satellite with the rocket as part of its Venture-Class Acquisition of Dedicated and Rideshare (VADR) missions in the future. VADR is a program that enables the launch of small spacecraft with scientific and technological payloads to demonstrate new capabilities for exploration, science, and technology development.

Relativity Space has also signed a contract with the Thailand-based startup mu Space to launch a satellite with Terran 1 in 2023. mu Space plans to use the satellite to provide internet services to remote areas in Southeast Asia.

The significance of 3D printing in the aerospace industry

Relativity Space’s use of 3D printing to manufacture Terran 1 is a significant development in the aerospace industry. The company uses a large-scale 3D printer, called Stargate, to manufacture 95% of the rocket’s parts. Stargate has a 30-foot-tall robotic arm that can print up to 1,000 times faster than traditional manufacturing methods, allowing for rapid iteration and testing of new designs.

The use of 3D printing in aerospace manufacturing offers several advantages, including reduced cost and time, increased design flexibility, and reduced waste. Traditional manufacturing methods require a significant amount of manual labour, which increases costs and production time. With 3D printing, parts can be produced with fewer labour hours, and the printing process is automated, reducing the chances of human error.

No comments yet.

Leave a Reply