Relativity Space Takes Over Test Stand at NASA Stennis

Relativity Space, a startup that is developing 3D printed launch vehicles,  has signed a 20-year agreement to use the E4 Test Complex at the NASA Stennis Space Center in Mississippi.

The 25-acre complex includes four large test cells rated for testing rocket engines and launch vehicles. The company, which has already tested engines at another Stennis test stand, said it will be investing money to build up the complex, which is currently not in use.

Relativity Space plans to use the site to complete development, qualification and acceptance testing of its Aeon rocket engine and Terran 1 launch vehicle.

“Terran 1 is designed from scratch for constellation deployment and resupply,” the company says on its website. “Its unique architecture can change and scale rapidly alongside satellite companies as they develop new capabilities.”

The company is using robotic additive manufacturing to reduce the cost of access  to orbit. It aims to be able to manufacture and launch a rocket in less than 60 days.

The two-stage booster is designed to place up to 1,250 kg (2,756 lb) into an 185 km (115 mile) orbit or 900 kg (1,984 lb) into a 500 km (311 mile) sun-synchronous orbit (SSO). The booster will also be capable of placing a 700 kg (1,543 lb) payload into a 1,200 km (746 mile) SSO.