Relativity Space has had a wild ride to launch
Relativity Space will be attempting to make history with the first launch of the 110-foot-tall Terran 1 rocket tomorrow afternoon. The company, which was founded in 2016 by Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone, is best-known for its innovative 3D printing technology: Terran 1 is 85% 3D-printed by mass, and that even includes the rocket engines. The company's made big bets and has even bigger ambitions, with Relativity CEO Tim Ellis echoing SpaceX CEO Elon Musk's Martian ambitions.
“Our long-term mission remains that we want to help build an industrial base on Mars and help make humanity multiplanetary," Ellis told TechCrunch.
The company's made a lot of headlines over its seven-year history. Here are the top 10 moments from the TC archives.
1. Our first story on Relativity (2017)
We wrote about Relativity for the first time back in 2017, when the company only had 14 (!) full-time employees. We note that the company wants to drive the cost of rocket launches down ten-fold using its 3D-print process.
2. Relativity lands its first launch facilities at Cape Canaveral (2019)
Relativity landed a multi-year contract from the U.S. Air Force to operate rocket launch facilities at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida -- the very site from which Relativity hopes to launch Terran 1 tomorrow.
3. Relativity’s economic gamechanger (2020)
TC’s Darrell Etherington spoke to CEO Tim Ellis about the economics behind Relativity Space, just a few months after the company raised $140 million. (TC+)
4. Long Beach expansion (2020)
Riding high on momentum, Relativity announced its new digs: a massive warehouse-style building in Long Beach, California.
5. Relativity raises $500 million as it sets its sights on Mars (2020)
The company announced the massive raise in November 2020, which was shortly followed by an aggressive expansion in workforce, facilities and, well...everything.
6. The unveiling of Terran R (2021)
Relativity finally revealed what comes after Terran 1: Terran R, a much larger and even more ambitious 3D-printed rocket -- with full reusability.
7. Another monster funding round and a $4.2 billion valuation (2021)
Less than a year after closing on $500 million, the company managed to raise another $650 million to scale the development of Terran R.
8. Introducing the 1 million-square-foot factory (2021)
Relativity boosted its footprint by a factor of 10 with a new 1 million-square-foot facility in Long Beach.
9. A OneWeb deal and $1.2 billion in Terran R launch contracts (2022)
We broke news last year that Relativity inked a huge deal with British satellite constellation operator OneWeb, plus that it had $1.2 billion in firm Terran R launch contracts -- contracts that the company managed to land before sending even a single rocket to orbit.
10. Last but not least: A mission to Mars with Impulse Space (2022)
Relativity announced new plans with startup Impulse Space, founded by SpaceX's former CTO of propulsion, to land a spacecraft on Mars as early as 2024 (yes, you read that right).
The story has been updated to reflect that Relativity was founded in 2016, not 2015.