Giant 3D-Printed Rocket Fails To Reach Orbit

Tyler Durden's Photo
by Tyler Durden
Thursday, Mar 23, 2023 - 02:35 PM

A mostly 3D-printed rocket, measuring 110 feet high, blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on Wednesday night and encountered a mid-flight problem preventing it from reaching orbit.

Launch startup Relativity Space Inc.'s Terran 1 is the first of its kind with an 85% 3D-printed structure. A live stream of the launch showed the two-stage rocket failed to ignite its upper-stage engine that would've propelled the rocket into orbit. 

Relativity launch director Clay Walker confirmed an "anomaly" occurred with the rocket's upper-stage engine. He said more information would be provided "over the coming days" about the Terran 1's problems after his team reviews flight data. 

"There were no satellites on the Terran 1 rocket's first test flight. Debris from the rocket likely fell into the Atlantic Ocean around 400 miles east of Cape Canaveral," rocket news website Spaceflight Now said. 

Even though the fight test was a failure, the company tweeted:

What's unique about Relativity's mission is that it wants to send the first 3D-printed commercial rocket into orbit. The Terran 1 is about 85% 3D-printed, though it expects future rockets will be about 95%. 

If Relativity's space venture works out, the Terran 1's payload will be about 1,250 kilograms (2,755 pounds), designating it as a "medium lift" rocket of the US launch market.