Note: Story updated with information about ABL Space Systems’ RS1 booster.
by Douglas Messier Managing Editor
Rocket Lab’s announcement that it is developing the medium-lift Neutron rocket focused on launching satellite constellations was an inevitable consequence of SpaceX getting into the rideshare business.
KENNEDY SPACE CENTER, Fla. (NASA PR) — NASA’s Launch Services Program (LSP) has awarded multiple Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 (VCLS Demo 2) contracts to launch small satellites (SmallSats) to space, including CubeSats, microsats or nanosatellites. The three companies selected to provide these commercial launch capabilities, and the value of their firm fixed-price contracts, are:
Astra Space Inc. of Alameda, California: $3.9 million
Relativity Space Inc. of Long Beach, California: $3.0 million
Firefly Black LLC of Cedar Park, Texas: $9.8 million
Relativity Space and TriSept Sign Launch Services Agreement (LSA) for a Dedicated Rideshare Manifest Focused on Providing Access to Space for Large and Small Satellite Payload Missions
LOS ANGELES & CHANTILLY, Va. ()–Supporting a rideshare manifest with a mix of small and large satellites, TriSept Corporation has selected Relativity Space for a full mission aboard Relativity’s Terran 1, the world’s first entirely 3D printed rocket.
Under the signed agreement, TriSept has secured a full mission on Terran 1 as early as 2022. The launch will take place from one of Relativity’s launch sites at Cape Canaveral or Vandenberg Air Force Base.
LOS ANGELES, November 23, 2020 (Relativity Space PR — Relativity Space, the first company to 3D print an entire rocket and build the largest metal 3D printers in the world, today announced it closed a $500 million Series D equity funding round.
The round was led by Tiger Global Management with participation from new investors Fidelity Management & Research Company LLC, Baillie Gifford, ICONIQ Capital, General Catalyst, XN, Senator Investment Group, and Elad Gil. Existing investors participating in the round include BOND, Tribe Capital, K5 Global, 3L, Playground Global, Mark Cuban, Spencer Rascoff, and Allen & Company LLC, among others.
BETHESDA, Md. (Lockheed Martin PR) — On Oct. 14, NASA Administrator Jim Bridenstine announced a $370 million investment with 14 U.S. partners that will demonstrate and mature space technologies to help forge a path to sustainable Artemis operations on the Moon.
As a recipient of an $89.7 million contract from this Tipping Point solicitation, Lockheed Martin will complete an in-space demonstration mission using liquid hydrogen — the most challenging of the cryogenic propellants. This allows us and our partners to test more than one dozen cryogenic fluid management technologies over the next five years.
LOS ANGELES (Relativity Space PR) — Relativity Space, the world’s first autonomous rocket factory and launch services leader for satellites, today announced the appointment of Caryn Schenewerk as vice president, regulatory and government affairs, effective July 15, 2020.
In this role, Ms. Schenewerk will be a key member of the Executive Leadership Team, responsible for the development and execution of Relativity Space’s federal, state, and local government strategy. She will increase Relativity’s visibility, lead the company’s participation in industry associations and expand Relativity’s relationships with key government agencies.
Relativity’s 3D printed Terran 1 launch vehicle offers dedicated missions for Iridium ground spare satellite deployments
LOS ANGELES, June 24, 2020 (Relativity Space PR) — Relativity Space today announced that Iridium Communications Inc. (NASDAQ: IRDM) has signed a launch contract to deliver satellites to orbit.
The contract includes flexible timing for up to six dedicated launches to deploy Iridium’s ground spare satellites to Low Earth Orbit (LEO). The launches will take place on an as-needed basis, determined by Iridium and utilizing Relativity’s Terran 1, the world’s first 3D printed launch vehicle. Launches are planned for no earlier than 2023.
VANDENBERG, Calif. (Relativity Space PR)–Relativity Space, the first company to utilize 3D printing, robotics and AI to reinvent aerospace manufacturing, extended its launch capabilities via a Right of Entry Agreement with the United States Air Force, 30th Space Wing for development of rocket launch facilities at Vandenberg Air Force Base.
One of the lesser known aspects of SpaceX’s rise to the top of the space industry is how the company has seeded other companies with experienced personnel.
Throughout its existence, SpaceX has had fairly high employee turnover. People work at Elon Musk’s company and move on for reasons ranging from being fired or laid off to getting burned out from long hours to becoming frustrated over relatively low pay to simply wanting to do something else.
Investment in commercial space companies soared to $5.7 billion in 2019 from $3.5 billion the year before, but the bulk of the funding went to a handful of companies most of which are run by billionaires, according to a new report from Bryce Space and Technology.
LOS ANGELES, February 28, 2020 (Relativity Space PR) — Relativity Space, the first company to utilize additive manufacturing and robotics to build an entire launch vehicle, today announced that it has secured a new headquarters in Long Beach, California. Located at 3500 E Burnett, Long Beach, the 120,000 sq. ft. space will house both the company’s business operations and an unprecedented manufacturing facility.
Relativity integrates machine learning, software, and robotics with metal additive manufacturing technology and will produce Terran 1, the world’s first 3D printed rocket, at the Long Beach facility.
LOS ANGELES (Relativity Space PR) — Relativity Space, the company building the world’s first autonomous rocket factory and launch services for satellites, today announced that it has closed a $140 million Series C funding round led by Bond and Tribe Capital.
With this $140 million funding round, Relativity is fully funded to become the first company in the world to launch an entirely 3D printed rocket to orbit and enter commercial service in early 2021. The Series C round includes participation by new investors Lee Fixel, Michael Ovitz, Spencer Rascoff, Republic Labs, and Jared Leto, with participation from current investors Playground Global, Y Combinator, Social Capital, and Mark Cuban.
LOS ANGELES (Relativity Space PR) –Relativity Space, the world’s first autonomous rocket factory and launch services leader for satellites, today announced that it has signed a Launch Services Agreement (LSA) with Momentus, the provider of in-space shuttle services that move satellites between orbits, to launch Momentus’ small and medium satellite customers on Relativity’s Terran 1 rocket, the world’s first and only entirely 3D printed rocket. Momentus will then deliver their customers’ small and medium sized satellites to geosynchronous orbit (GEO) using the Momentus Vigoride Extended in-space shuttle service.