Relativity Space to 3D Manufacture Rockets at Stennis Space Center

BAY ST. LOUIS, Miss., June 11, 2019 (Hancock County Port & Harbor Commission PR) – Aerospace company Relativity is expanding its rocket component production and rocket engine testing operations at NASA’s Stennis Space Center in Hancock County. The project is a $59-million corporate investment and will create 190 jobs, increasing employment at Relativity’s Stennis Space Center site to 200 workers.

“Relativity‘s announcement today solidifies Hancock County’s position as a leader in commercial space activity and further establishes our aerospace cluster as one of the strongest in the region,“ said Blaine Lafontaine, President, Hancock County Board of Supervisors.

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Relativity Granted Industry-First Machine Learning 3D Metal Printing Patent, Adds Execs from SpaceX & Virgin Orbit

LOS ANGELES–(Relativity PR)–Relativity, the world’s first autonomous rocket factory and launch services leader, today announced the appointment of three aerospace veterans to its executive team and an industry-leading new patent grant for its autonomous 3D printing technology. The fast-growing company has now hired twelve former senior leaders from SpaceX, Blue Origin, Virgin Orbit, Aerojet Rocketdyne, Waymo, Zoox, and Tesla, and has secured a key patent for 3D printing metal using machine learning.

Tim Buzza, recognized as one of the world’s foremost experts in rocket development, as well as among the first leaders and a twelve-year executive at SpaceX, and former Co-President and Vice President of Launch at Virgin Orbit, officially joins Relativity as Distinguished Engineer after serving as an Advisor to the company.

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First Quarter Commercial Space Investment Reached Nearly $1 Billion

SpaceX Falcon 9 lifts off with a Dragon resupply ship on April 2, 2018. (Credit: NASA)

by Douglas Messier
Managing Editor

SpaceX received $500 million of the nearly $1 billion in investment raised by commercial space companies during the first quarter of 2018, according to the Space Investment Quarterly report from Space Angels.

“SpaceX shows no signs of slowing down—after the inaugural flight of the Falcon Heavy, the company secured $500 million from Fidelity Investments to drive development of their satellite communications network, Starlink,” the report added.

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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.

A Closer Look at National Space Council User’s Advisory Group Nominees


So, I finally had a chance to go through folks that Vice President Mike Pence nominated to serve on the National Space Council’s Users Advisory Group.

Below is my attempt to break down the 29 nominees by category. It’s far from perfect because several of them could easily be listed under multiple categories. But, here’s my best shot at it.

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NASA Space Act Agreements with Virgin Galactic, Moon Express, NanoRacks and More

NASA has released a document listing the 1,206 active Space Act Agreements  (SAAs) the agency has with commercial companies, non-profit organizations and state and local governments.

From that list, I’ve extracted agreements with individual companies. Below you will find tables listing SAAs that NASA has signed with Virgin Group companies, Moon Express and NanoRacks. There is also a fourth table that has SAAs with a number of companies and organizations that we follow on Parabolic Arc.

SAAs come in three varieties: reimburseable, non-reimburseable and funded. Under reimburseable agreements, a company or organization will pay NASA for its services. No money exchanges hands under non-reimburseable agrements. And under funded agreements, NASA pays the company to perform work or provide services. (The space agency made substantial use of SAA’s in the Commercial Crew Program.)

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