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Tuesday, November 30, 2021

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    Relativity is pushing back the demo launch of its Terran 1 rocket to early 2022 – TechCrunch

    3D rocket printing company Relativity Space has pushed back the date of the demonstration launch of its lightweight Terran 1 rocket from winter 2021 to early 2022. The company announced the updated schedule on Twitter, while also confirming that the launch will take place out of Cape Canaveral in Florida.

    Relativity also said Stage 2 passed its cryogenic pressure and hydromechanical buckling test. Stage 1 structural testing is to follow.

    The news of the delay comes just two months after Relativity said (also on Twitter) that the Terran 1 would launch in winter of this year. The rocket that will perform the orbital demonstration flight will not be carrying any payload, but the company has already scheduled a second launch to take place June 2022. That rocket will carry CubeSats to low-Earth orbit as part of NASA’s Venture Class Launch Services Demonstration 2 (VCLS Demo 2) contract.

    A company spokesperson told TechCrunch that there is “no one single reason” why the launch date has been pushed back. “Over the past year, Relativity has … refined Terran 1’s architecture, developed a brand new engine and upgraded its material while COVID slowed a few of its processes down,” the spokesperson added. “They updated the demonstration launch to early 2022 so they can better coordinate with partners.”

    The launch will mark the world’s first of an entirely 3D-printed rocket. Relativity’s tech has garnered quite a lot of interest from investors — so much that its valuation vaulted to $4.2 billion after a $650 million funding round this summer. In addition to the Terran 1, the company is also developing a second heavy-lift, fully reusable rocket it’s calling Terran R. It aims to launch that rocket as early as 2024.

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