Skip to Content
Space

A space startup that 3D-prints its rockets just got its first customer

April 5, 2019

LA-based Relativity Space announced a deal with Telesat today to launch a portion of its new internet satellite constellation.

The news: Canadian communications company Telesat has committed to sending some of its low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites up on Relativity’s Terran 1 rocket. The deal is the first large launch contract for the startup, which plans to manufacture its satellites with 3D printing. “It’s really a big vote of confidence in our team and our technology,” says CEO Tim Ellis.

The details: Relativity joins Jeff Bezos’s Blue Origin, Telesat’s other committed launch provider. While the number of launches and satellites each company will perform is still under wraps, you can bet there will be a lot to go around. LEO constellations typically require hundreds of small satellites to get reliable worldwide coverage. Take satellite internet company OneWeb, which launched the first members of its 650-satellite constellation earlier this year.

But first … Relativity hasn’t even completed a space-ready rocket yet. The company has been doing a number of engine tests and construction on additive-manufacturing facilities, but it has yet to launch one. It says it is on track to test-launch its first 3D-printed Terran 1 rocket in 2020 and recently acquired the space in Cape Canaveral, Florida, to do so. If initial tests go to plan, the startup is looking at its first commercial launch in 2021.

Want to keep up with space tech news? Sign up for our new space newsletter, The Airlock.

 

Keep Reading

Most Popular

10 Breakthrough Technologies 2024

Every year, we look for promising technologies poised to have a real impact on the world. Here are the advances that we think matter most right now.

Scientists are finding signals of long covid in blood. They could lead to new treatments.

Faults in a certain part of the immune system might be at the root of some long covid cases, new research suggests.

AI for everything: 10 Breakthrough Technologies 2024

Generative AI tools like ChatGPT reached mass adoption in record time, and reset the course of an entire industry.

What’s next for AI in 2024

Our writers look at the four hot trends to watch out for this year

Stay connected

Illustration by Rose Wong

Get the latest updates from
MIT Technology Review

Discover special offers, top stories, upcoming events, and more.

Thank you for submitting your email!

Explore more newsletters

It looks like something went wrong.

We’re having trouble saving your preferences. Try refreshing this page and updating them one more time. If you continue to get this message, reach out to us at customer-service@technologyreview.com with a list of newsletters you’d like to receive.