Relativity Space's 3D-printed rocket fails to lift off during second launch attempt
The spacecraft successfully fired its first-stage engines but did not get off the ground.
Another day, another scrub for the world’s first 3D-printed rocket. On Saturday, Relativity Space’s Terran 1 rocket failed to get off the ground after two launch attempts. It was a day of false starts. Following Wednesday's scrub, Relativity Space initially set its sights on a 1:45PM ET launch, a window the company later pushed back to 2:45PM ET due to "upper-level wind violations."
After the countdown restarted, all was going well until a boat entered the spacecraft’s range. Once the countdown resumed again, the company called a launch abort at t-minus zero after the spacecraft’s nine first-stage Aeon engines roared to life and then cut off almost immediately after. After blaming a "launch commit criteria violation" for the 2:45PM abort, Relativity Space said it would attempt to fly the rocket again at 4PM ET, just as its launch window was about to close for the day. Unfortunately, the second time around Relativity called an abort before Terran 1 could even ignite its engines. As of the writing of this article, the company did not provide a reason for the decision, but said the rocket was "healthy" and that it would have more information to share soon.
Provided it can get off the ground, Terran 1 would represent a significant milestone for spaceflight technology. While the rocket isn’t completely 3D-printed, 85 percent of its mass is – including its entire structure and 10 first- and second-stage engines. In theory, Terran 1’s manufacturing process produces a spacecraft that is cheaper and faster to make. Relativity Space claims it can build a Terran 1 rocket in about 60 days, and that exclusive missions will cost around $12 million to complete. With future spacecraft, the company hopes to make around 90 percent of the vehicle from 3D-printed parts.