World’s First 3D-Printed Rocket Might Finally Launch on Saturday

A photo of the Relativity Space rocket on the launch pad.
A photo of the Relativity Space rocket on the launch pad.

Countdown to the countdown.

Everything is getting the 3D-printed treatment these days. From car parts and bike cranks, to saxophone mouthpieces and automotive accessories it seems like you can fabricate almost anything with time, talent and a half-decent 3D printer. Now, space travel startup Relativity Space is taking that notion one step further as it prepares to launch the world’s first 3D-printed rocket.

In case you missed it:

After NASA showcased the potential of a 3D printed rocket engine earlier this year, Relativity Space is about to launch its latest orbiter, which is comprised of 85 percent 3D-printed components. The space startup originally scheduled the launch of the new craft for Wednesday (March 8), but has since pushed the launch back to Saturday (March 11).

Read more

According to, the 110-foot-tall Terran 1 rocket is a two-stage craft that is mostly built using components that have been made using 3D-printing tech. The major components that have been created in this way include the rocket’s fuselage, and its nine Aeon-1 engines. The rocket’s engines also run on liquid methane, which is another first for the U.S. space industry.

Terran 1 Interstage Build Timelapse

In the future, Relativity Space hopes to up the percentage of 3D-printed parts on its rockets and is targeting as much as 95 percent 3D-printed components by mass.

But while you might think of 3D-printed objects as being flimsy or fragile, this rocket is far from that. While its launch won’t feature a payload, the Terran 1 will be capable of carrying a lot of stuff, as reports:

“Terran 1 is designed to carry payloads of up to 2,700 pounds (1,250 kilograms) to low Earth orbit and can haul 1,980 pounds (900 kg) to a sun-synchronous orbit at a cost of about $12 million per flight, Relativity Space has said.

“The company is also working on a larger, fully reusable rocket called Terran R designed to stand 216 feet tall (66 m) and launch more than 44,000 pounds (20,000 kg) to orbit with its Aeon-R engines starting in 2024.”

A photo of the Relativity Space rocket on the way to the launch pad.
A photo of the Relativity Space rocket on the way to the launch pad.

Ready for takeoff.

When the rocket lifts off from a site in Florida for its mission branded “Good Luck, Have Fun”, the launch will be all about proving that a 3D-printed craft can “handle the rigors of launch.”

Relativity Space will livestream the launch on Youtube Saturday, with the launch scheduled for 4 p.m. Eastern Standard Time. You can watch that stream right here.

More from Jalopnik

Sign up for Jalopnik's Newsletter. For the latest news, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Click here to read the full article.