Relativity Space, the privately funded aerospace manufacturer, announces a deal with Canadian satellite communications company Telesat, to launch multiple satellites from Cape Canaveral, Florida, US. The company plans to 3D print all the parts of the 100-foot tall rocket.
Excited about the new deal, CEO & Co-founder Tim Ellis said, “I’m thrilled. It really gives us the opportunity to prove ourselves, and I’m excited to serve them and give them an awesome ride to space.”
Tim Ellis added, “The biggest piece of validation we can get is that a customer like Telesat — a blue-chip company that has been in business for over 50 years and is one of the pioneers in the industry — is now signing this contract with us.”
This deal is the first major launch for the fledgling startup and Relativity plans to 3D print all of the parts of its 100-foot tall rocket.
The company’s manufacturing process is a first for the rocket industry. Ellis said, “The 3D printing process has lowered the number of parts needed to assemble its Terran 1 rocket and also allows the company to make changes to the design of the rocket. Engineers can get the new design to the launch pad in just 60 days.”
Speaking about the collaboration with Relativity Space, Telesat’s chief technical officer Dave Wendling said, “We considered established launch providers as well as NewSpace companies whose technologies and manufacturing methods offer lower costs and greater flexibility for deploying our constellation. Relativity is just such a company.”
The satellites launched for Telesat will create a global communication constellation. That requires a lot of satellites launching into low-Earth orbit.
According to Tim Ellis, “We’ve actually been able to come up with the world’s largest metal 3D printer to print this rocket out of custom aluminium alloy we’re also developing ourselves.”
The company has a deal with the US Air force to launch from LC-16. Ellis says preparing the site is ramping up and will create additional jobs on the Space Coast. The company is moving forward with an environmental impact study ahead of upgrades to the pad to support the launch of Terran 1.
Relativity Space is planning a test launch of the rocket from Florida by the end of 2020.
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