Relativity Space is hoping to give its first 3D-printed rocket another chance to make its first blast into space on Saturday.
The 110-foot-tall Terran 1 rocket, built by the Long Beach, Calif.-headquartered space company, is scheduled to lift off during a three-hour window at 1 p.m. EST at Cape Canaveral, Florida.
The launch crew said Saturday morning Twitter that efforts were underway, but “upper-level winds are a potential concern today and we continue to monitor.”[ads1];
A launch attempt on Wednesday was scrubbed “due to exceeding launch criteria for stage 2 propellant thermal conditions,” the company said.
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This is how you see the launch of Relativity Space’s 3D-printed rocket on Saturday
Relativity Space is streaming the launch on its YouTube channel starting at noon ET Saturday.
What is the mission of the 3D printed rocket?
Terran 1, which is a prototype with no customer cargo, is scheduled to lift off, then undergo a stage separation, second engine start and cutoff, and achieve orbit.
The goal of the first launch is to prove that the 3D-printed vehicle with a diameter of 7.5 feet is durable enough for launch and space travel.
Liftoff and getting over the Atlantic and passing Max-Q, the point in flight when the rocket will have maximum stress, would “be a big inflection point,” the company said in a discussion of launch success on Twitter. “Why? Because it is the flight phase where the structural stresses on the vehicle are the highest, passing this point in flight proves our hypothesis: 3D printed rockets are structurally viable!”
Should Terran 1 — dubbed “Good Luck, Have Fun” or “GLHF” — make it to low Earth orbit (LEO), Relativity Space estimates it “would be a total home run,” Space.com reported, citing an email . from Relativity Space representatives.
If that goal is met, Relativity will be the first privately held, venture-backed space company to do so on its first launch, the company said.
“We have our own in-house team that designed this rocket from a blank piece of paper, built our own factory with the world’s largest metal 3D printers, our own custom aluminum alloys. We build our own rocket engines,” said Tim Ellis, co-founder and CEO in Relativity Space. “Now we are about to launch it.”
This launch is just the first step in Relativity’s interstellar plan to go to Mars.
Last year, the company announced plans with Impulse Space in El Segundo, California, to develop a Mars Cruise Vehicle and Mars Lander on a Terran R rocket by 2024 at the earliest.
Follow Mike Snider on Twitter: @mikesnider.
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