Technology

Relativity, the Company Behind the World's First 3D-Printed Rocket

With $140 million in Series C Funding, Relativity is fully funded to become the first company to launch an entirely 3D-printed rocket to orbit and enter commercial service.

10.10.2019 | by Reve Fisher
Photo by Relativity
Photo by Relativity

Aerospace manufacturing startup Relativity Space is making history, with its creation of the world’s largest metal 3D printer to 3D print rockets and satellites.

After closing $140 million in Series C funding, Relativity is fully funded and is on track to be the first company to launch a 3D-printed rocket— Terran 1—to orbit, with plans to enter commercial service in 2021.

“Relativity was founded with the long term vision of 3D printing the first rocket made on Mars and expanding the possibilities for human experience in our lifetime,” Tim Ellis, co-founder and CEO of Relativity Space, said in a statement. “With the close of our Series C funding, we are now one step closer to that vision by being fully funded to launch Terran 1 to orbit as the world’s first entirely 3D printed rocket.”

Founded in 2015, the Los Angeles-based company is working to reach this goal with its proprietary Stargate factory. The establishment is the first and only aerospace factory to integrate machine learning, software, and robotics with metal 3D printing technology. Stargate can create a launch-ready rocket from raw materials in only 60 days, with a payload capacity up to 1250 kg.

Terran 1 has also been upgraded to a 3-meter payload fairing with twice the volume, making it the most competitive rocket in its class.

“We are excited to complete the development of Terran 1, providing an entirely new value chain for our customers,” said Jordan Noone, the startup’s co-founder and CTO. “As we build Terran 1 we will continue to expand the Stargate factory, achieving another milestone towards our long term vision.”

The company has also accomplished many firsts through its partnership with the US government. Relativity is the first venture-backed company to secure a launch site Right of Entry at Cape Canaveral Launch Complex-16 from the US Air Force. It is also the only venture-backed company on the National Space Council User’s Advisory Group advising the US White House.

Relativity has also secured a 20-year exclusive-use Commercial Space Launch Act (CSLA) agreement for five NASA test sites and a 20-year exclusive use lease for a 220,000 square feet factory at NASA Stennis Space Center.

The funding round was led by Bond and Tribe Capital and includes participation by Lee Fixel, Michael Ovitz, Spencer Rascoff, Republic Labs, Jared Leto, Playground Global, Y Combinator, Social Capital and Mark Cuban.

“We believe the Stargate factory is a template for the future of aerospace manufacturing and provides Relativity’s commercial customers, and eventually humanity, a faster, more reliable, and lower cost way to shuttle important resources from earth to outer space,” said Noah Knauf, a co-founder and general partner at Bond Capital.

“Just as doubling microprocessor speeds enabled the personal computing revolution, Relativity will push forward an entire ecosystem of hardware and software systems to take humanity beyond Earth’s orbit,” said Arjun Sethi, co-founder and general partner at Tribe Capital.

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