World's first 3D-printed rocket launches but fails to reach the orbit
- In Reports
- 07:17 PM, Mar 23, 2023
- Myind Staff
Relativity Space successfully launched the world's first 3-D printed rocket into space. However, the mission was not fully successful as it failed to reach orbit. The mission, which was not carrying any form of payload, failed nearly three minutes into the flight.
The startup is aiming to revolutionise space travel and the satellite launch market with 3D printing replacing the traditional casting of rockets.
The company had earlier this month aborted the launch of a rocket made almost entirely from 3D-printed parts minutes before the scheduled lift-off.
The two-stage, 110 feet tall, 7.5 feet wide, expendable rocket was attempting to launch into Low Earth Orbit from the former missile site.
"We successfully made it through Max-Q, the highest stress state on our printed structures. This is the biggest proof point for our novel additive manufacturing approach. Today is a huge win, with many historic firsts. We also progressed through Main Engine Cutoff and Stage Separation. We will assess flight data and provide public updates over the coming days," Relativity Space said in a statement.
The startup wanted to put the souvenir into a 125-mile-high (200-kilometer-high) orbit for several days before having its plunge through the atmosphere and burn up along with the upper stage of the rocket.
It was the third launch attempt from what once was a missile site. Relativity Space came within a half-second of blasting off earlier this month, with the rocket’s engines igniting before abruptly shutting down.
Most of the 110-foot (33-meter) rocket, including its engines, came out of the company’s huge 3D printers in Long Beach, California.
Relativity Space said 3D-printed metal parts made up 85% of the rocket, named Terran. Larger versions of the rocket will have even more and also be reusable for multiple flights.
The 3D-printing process, widely used in various industries, involves machines that autonomously "print" sequential layers of soft, liquid, or powdered materials that are quickly hardened or fused to form solid three-dimensional objects. The designs of the objects are scanned from digital blueprints.
Image courtesy: Relativity Space