Relativity Raises $140 million for its 3D printed rockets

Relativity's Rocket
Source: Relativity Space

Many space companies are developing tech to reach Mars. Now, a new company has jumped into the mix, called Relativity Space. Its founder’s vision is to make the first rocket to go to Mars. Moreover, the company has just raised $140 million in new funding. Many millionaires, billionaires, media moguls, and movie stars are funding to help the company manufacture rockets and 3D printers.

This new funding round will give Relativity enough money to build its “Stargate” factory, which is a full-scale production facility that will contain the huge 3D printers its first rocket, called Terran 1. The company states that it will use the printing technology to develop its rockets. It can lessen the time it takes to make a rocket by two years. The company claims that they could manufacture the rockets in 60 days. The payload capacity of its vehicles will be 1250 kg. However, SpaceX’s largest rockets have up to 100 times the payload capacity.

Many space startups and established companies are now in a race to develop the rockets to get to the Moon; this will be the first step to get humans on Mars. Moreover, while Relativity was finalizing the new round, Elon Musk was providing the details of his new spaceship named Starship, which is designed to carry a payload from Moon to Mars.

Currently, Relativity is focusing on the opportunity to get more satellites into the Earth’s orbit. Moreover, the financers are a mixture of Silicon Valley venture capital firms and Hollywood Elite class, which is great because the company’s headquarters are in Los Angeles. However, its operations take place in research centers and facilities that support the U.S. space industry.

Relativity has managed to get funding from top Hollywood icons, like Michael Ovitz, the founder of Creative Artists Agency and the popular actor Jared Leto. The co-founder of Zillow, Spencer Rascoff and Lee Fixel, the investor in Tiger Global, are also participating in the funding.

The two firms that are leading the current funding are Tribe Capital, which was formed after the dissolution of Social Capital, and Bond Capital, which is a new growth capital investment firm founded by the former equity investor, Noah Knauf and Wall Street analyst, Mary Meeker.

The inclusion of the growth capital investment firm like Bond is about the strength of the Space Industry as a whole. Knauf states, “Our main investment strategy is to invest in places where things go from the frontier to mainstream investments. We have also talked about things that amount to billions of dollars to the company.”

Some of Bond’s fears increase by the fact that the company has made deals with other satellite companies. Moreover, Relativity has announced contracts with four vendors, which include, Spaceflight and Momentus that provide in-space shuttle positioning services for medium-sized satellites, and Telesat and Mu Space, for lower orbital constellations.

During the past year, the company has been building the manufacturing infrastructure to support its huge ambitions. The company has made the first and second stage structure and completed the turbopump tests. The company has also conducted over 200 engine hot fire tests in NASA’s Stennis Space Center. Relativity has also completed successful tests of its avionics architecture.

Relativity launch and test facilities are present in NASA’s Stennis Space Center, the Los Angeles headquarters and Cape Canaveral. The company also wants to obtain a Sun Synchronous Orbit (SSO) capable launch site by the end of this year.

If the rocket business of the company fails, it has a backup plan. It has also made manufacturing technologies that have earthly applications. Knauf comments regarding the 3D printing technology, “The fit here is great for rockets and aerospace. This is the world’s largest printer.”

Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone co-founded Relativity. Ellis was a former Blue Origin employee and Noone used to work at SpaceX. Ellis states, “We are making the future of humanity. Therefore, everyone is with us to make 3D printed rockets for Mars.”

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