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Relativity Space postpones first 3D-printed rocket launch
Relativity Space postpones first 3D-printed rocket launch
by Clyde Hughes
Washington DC (UPI) Mar 8, 2021

The Relativity Space launcher Terran 1 postponed the launch of the first 3D-printed rocket to space on Wednesday.

The rocket was to lift off from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station early in the afternoon, but after several delays, the operation was scrubbed. The launch system automatically aborted during countdown with about 70 seconds to go twice. During the second stoppage, the system triggered because stage 2 oxygen temperatures were "out of limits," the communications team on the live feed shared.

The test flight mission dubbed "Good Luck Have Fun" was scheduled to take off at about 1 p.m., EST but was delayed until about 3:30 p.m. before being called off.

Some 85% of the mass of the 110-foot tall, two-stage rocket was made by a 3D printer and could play a key role in driving down the cost of space travel in the future. Relativity said up to 95% of future rockets could be made with a 3D printer.

"As for flight success, safely clearing the pad, getting out over the ocean and passing Max-Q would be a big inflection point for today's launch," Relativity Space told Space.com.

"Max-Q is the point where the structural loads on the vehicle are the highest, making it one of the most challenging phases of flight, so passing this milestone would effectively demonstrate that 3D-printed rockets are structurally viable, in addition to already successfully completing acceptance testing on the ground at our factory at these max stresses."

Relativity's owners said they want to eventually compete head-to-head with private space travel leaders SpaceX and United Launch Alliance by building a larger version of Terran 1.

SpaceX's launcher workhorse, the reusable Falcon 9 rocket, is scheduled to take off from Cape Canaveral Complex 40 on Thursday.

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