Not content to just 3D print rocket components, founders Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone believe the entire rocket can be printed. It’s a bold claim, so far the aerospace industry has only managed to print relatively small rocket engines; so printing an entire vehicle would be an exceptionally large leap in capability. Relativity Space isn’t the first company to realize 3D printing in metal could be a revolution for rocket engine design. You can’t print something as big as rocket without a massive printer, so one of Relativity Space’s first milestones was the completion of what they call Stargate: the world’s largest metal 3D printer. Between systemic simplifications and the fact that the fuselage and propellant tanks would be printed on Stargate, Relativity Space estimates the total number of components in the Terran rocket could be reduced to 1/100th that of contemporary vehicles. The core principles of 3D printing rockets are therefore largely old news, in the grand scheme of things. With only two years to go before Relativity Space hopes to launch their first Terran rocket, we might not have to wait long to see how many 3D printed components make it into the final vehicle, and how much of their initial plan ended up being little more than buzzwords to entice investors.

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