Relativity Space scrubs 2nd launch attempt of 3D-printed rocket from Florida

The afternoon’s first scrub due to automation software, second scrub because of low fuel pressure

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. – A rocket made almost completely of 3D-printed parts came within a half-second of taking off Saturday on its debut flight, but remained grounded after back-to-back launch aborts.

The engines ignited, but abruptly shut down, leaving Relativity Space’s rocket, named Terran, standing on its pad.

Launch controllers reset the countdown clocks and aimed for the last possible moment of the three-hour window at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. But once again, on-board flight computers halted the countdown, this time with 45 seconds remaining.

Relativity Space blamed the afternoon’s first problem on automation software and the second on low fuel pressure.

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The team went HARD today and we intend to do so during our next attempt. More to come on the new launch date and window soon,” Relativity Space tweeted.

The test mission, dubbed “Good Luck, Have Fun,” will eventually be the first-ever launch of a Terran 1, significant in itself as the largest 3D-printed object to attempt orbital flight.

The two-stage, 85% 3D-printed rocket’s ultimate purpose is to contribute to the future of satellite constellation deployment and resupply by “providing the most agile and affordable launch service on the market,” with an advertised price tag of $12 million per dedicated mission as opposed to the more-than $60 million often spent for Falcon 9 flights, according to Relativity Space.

Relativity Space is using new cutting-edge technology to 3-D print rockets.

At 110 feet (33 meters), the rocket is relatively small. Relativity Space said 85% of the rocket, including its engines, came out of its huge 3D printers at company headquarters in Long Beach, California.

Given this is a test flight, all that is aboard the rocket is the company’s first 3D metal print. The company aims to put the souvenir, along with the second stage, into a low, short-lived orbit.

Wednesday’s launch was scrubbed not due to weather, however, but because launch commit criteria limits were exceeded regarding propellant thermal conditions on the rocket’s second stage, Relativity Space said in a statement.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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About the Authors:

Brandon, a UCF grad, joined the ClickOrlando team in November 2021. Before joining News 6, Brandon worked at WDBO.