Terran 1 launch delayed again: Technical faults found in world's first 3D-printed rocket

March 13, 2023  10:27

The Terran 1 light rocket is different from other rockets being sent into space. About 85% of its components are made using 3D printing. However, for the second time, it is not possible to launch the rocket. Shortly before its launch, the specialists discovered technical faults in the rocket, and as a result, they had to postpone the launch.

The American company Relativity Space had planned the first launch of this rocket on March 8. The rocket was scheduled to lift off from the LC-16 pad at the US Space Force base in Cape Canaveral, Florida, but the launch was canceled due to fuel temperature problems in the rocket's second stage.

The second launch attempt was planned for March 12, but it also had to be postponed—this time due to technical problems that were found.

During the first launch attempt, the countdown had to be stopped because of a boat that had entered the launch area, PCmag informs. The launch attempt was then resumed, but the first stage's nine Aeon engines shut down almost at once, shortly after which a pressure problem was discovered in the second stage's fuel compartment.

Relativity Space plans to make another attempt at launching the Terran 1 at a later date, but company officials did not specify an exact launch date.

What is known about Terran 1?

The Terran 1 is a 33-meter ultra-light rocket whose first and second stages are 3D-printed from the company's own aluminum alloy.

Relativity Space has been developing this rocket since 2017. The rocket can only be launched once, after which its components are either destroyed on re-entry into the atmosphere, or remain in space.

The first stage of the rocket is equipped with nine Aeon engines, the second—with one, and the engines are also made using 3D printing. Engines use methane as a fuel, and liquid nitrogen as an oxidizing agent.

According to its developers, the Terran 1 can lift up to 1,250 kg of payload into low Earth orbit.

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