Update for 10:53 PM ET: Relativity Space is now targeted 11:25 PM ET (0325 GMT) for the evening’s first launch of the Terran 1 rocket due to high upper-level winds. Wind has been an ongoing concern for the launch and caused an earlier delay, followed by a boat on the launch site. Tonight’s launch window expires 10 p.m. to 1 a.m. ET at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
Relativity Space is ready to make another attempt at its debut.
The company plans to launch Terran 1, the world’s first 3D-printed rocket, on Wednesday (March 22) from Florida̵[ads1]7;s Cape Canaveral Space Force Station during a three-hour window that opens at 10 p.m. EDT (0200 GMT on March 23).
You can watch the orbital test mission — called “Good Luck, Have Fun,” or GLHF for short — here on Space.com, courtesy of Relativity Space, or directly via the company (opens in a new tab).
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Tonight’s planned uplift will be the third attempt to get GLHF off the ground. The first attempt, on March 8, was scrubbed due to fuel temperature problems on the two-stage Terran 1’s upper stage.
Relativity Space tried again on March 11, but was hampered by weather and range safety delays, as well as two separate aborts.
The 110-foot-tall (33-meter) Terran 1 is the world’s first 3D-printed rocket. About 85% of the mass of the GLHF vehicle is 3D printed, and the company wants to increase this number to 95% or so on future vehicles.
The expendable Terran 1 can haul up to 2,756 pounds (1,250 kilograms) to low Earth orbit (LEO), according to Relativity Space. The launch vehicle uses liquid methane as fuel and liquid oxygen as an oxidizer. If Terran 1 succeeds tonight, it will be the first such “methalox” rocket ever to reach Earth’s orbit.
GLHF is a test flight for California-based Relativity Space, which was founded in 2016 by Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone, who both once worked for Blue Origin. (No one spent time at SpaceX, either.) Terran 1 doesn’t have a viable payload on tonight’s mission, just a small 3D-printed ring that serves as a memory.
Regardless of how Terran 1 performs at GLHF, Relativity Space will have a lot of data to analyze. And such work should inform the development of the company’s next launch vehicle, the reusable Terran R, which is designed to deliver up to 44,100 pounds (20,000 kg) to LEO and could fly for the first time as early as next year.
“Terran 1 serves as a pathfinder and development platform on our path to Terran R production,” Relativity Space representatives said in a pre-launch email to Space.com. “Terran 1 has served us very well in this capacity leading up to our first launch, and we expect additional key learnings to come from launch day as well.”
Mike Wall is the author of “Out there (opens in a new tab)” (Grand Central Publishing, 2018; illustrated by Karl Tate), a book about the search for alien life. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall (opens in a new tab). Follow us on Twitter @Spacedotcom (opens in a new tab) or Facebook (opens in a new tab).