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Florida: Getting ready to launch a 3D-printed rocket for the first time

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On Saturday, March 11, 2023, a rocket made with 3D printing takes off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. The success of its launch could contribute to revolutionizing the rocket launch industry.

The missile, called “Teran 1”, was developed by Relativity Space. The launch margin was set between 13:00 and 16:00 local time.

This first test flight aims to prove the missile’s ability to withstand take-off pressure and collect as much data as possible in order to further develop these less expensive and easier-to-manufacture missiles, according to the company.

And made 85 percent of the mass of the rocket 3D printing technology. The company is looking to raise this percentage to 95 percent. The benefits are many, foremost of which is reducing costs and simplifying the manufacturing process while securing the greatest degree of flexibility.

With its large 3D-printing robots, the company says there are 100 times fewer parts than it takes to build a conventional rocket. She also stresses the speed of this method, explaining that the production process takes sixty days from raw materials to the final product.

The “Tiran 1” missile is 33.5 meters high and just over two meters in diameter. Its first layer includes nine engines produced with 3D printing as well, and its second layer includes only one engine.

An initial launch attempt was canceled at the last minute on Wednesday due to a technical problem.

The fuel is a mixture of liquid oxygen and liquefied natural gas (mainly methane) called methalox. And it will be “Teran 1”, if it succeeds in reaching Earth’s orbit, the first rocket in which this type of fuel is used to achieve this.

Relativity Space, which has a long-term vision to participate in the development of humanity on several planets, says it is the “future fuel” and its production is easiest on Mars.

Terran 1 is supposed to be able to put 1,250 kg into low Earth orbit, but it does not carry any cargo on this first flight.

The Long Beach-based company is developing another, larger missile, the “Teran R”, capable of carrying 20,000 kilograms into low orbit, but it is not expected to be launched before 2024.