The startup Relativity Space plans to build a first of its kind fleet of 3D-printed rockets with funds from Blackrock and Tiger Global. The funding round was led by Fidelity. The company aims to start a fully reusable rocket disrupting the space technology that will overtake SpaceX in less than three years. It attempts to create value ranking as one of the key players in the space company in the world.
With the funds raised of $650 million, the company is valued at $4.2 billion, making it the second most valuable space company next to Elon Musk’s SpaceX. The total fund raised by Relativity, including the recent one, is $1.3 billion.
The company required the funds critically to finance the new Terran R. the financing boosts the company and allows it to speed up the development process. The new Terran R is gearing up to enter service in 2024 to challenge SpaceX’s medium-lift reusable Falcon 9. The capability of manufacturing massive 3D printers in the world by Relativity can offer a single piece of metal up to 32 feet tall.
The U.S.-New Zealand startup Rocket Lab, Richard Branson’s Virgin Orbit, Texas-based Firefly Aerospace, and Relativity are leading in the industry to draw advantages like exponential growth from the compact satellites that offer all the information possible from security to climate change and communication in the future.
The Terran 1 is ready to explore space as Relativity partnered with NASA, Iridium Communications Inc, and the U.S. Defence Department. The rocket is planned to blast off by the end of 2021; it will add up to 2,755 pounds (1,250 kg) into orbit for $12 million, compared to the Terran R, which will loft nearly 44,000 pounds (20,000 kilograms) to low-Earth orbit, at undisclosed cost for a trip.
The other competitors, such as Firefly’s Alpha rocket, would strike 2,200 pounds (1,000 kg) into low-Earth orbit at $15 million per flight, and Rocket Lab’s Electron rocket would blow up to 500 pounds (225 kg) to space for $5.7 million.
Topping the charts is a ride on SpaceX’s Falcon 9 with 50,000 pounds (22,700 kg) at a whopping price of about $62 million.
The California-based Relativity envisions automation to be the pivotal source for humans to achieve ambitious goals like colonising a planet like Mars. In one year, the company successfully grew its workforce and optimistically aimed to build boosters by 3D printers, which have better capabilities than a full-scale rocket within 60 days.