Florida launched first 3D printed rocket, which failed to reach orbit

There was an anomaly during second stage separation, which halted the world’s first 3D printed rocket’s run to Earth orbit. Built by the aerospace startup Relativity Space, it is the largest object ever made with a 3D printer and, although it has not achieved its goal – observes the company – it marks a step forward for the Californian company.

The characteristics of the rocket

Billed as less expensive to produce and less expensive to fly, the unmanned Terran 1 rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida, at 11:25pm Wednesday local time. While it failed to reach orbit, the launch proved (on its third attempt) that the rocket, whose mass is 85 percent 3D printed, could withstand the rigors of liftoff. The launch was originally scheduled for March 8, but was postponed at the last minute due to propellant temperature problems. A second attempt on 11 March had been canceled due to fuel pressure problems. Had Terran 1 reached low Earth orbit, it would have been the first privately funded methane vehicle to do so on its first attempt, according to Relativity. Terran 1 did not carry a payload for its maiden flight, but the rocket will eventually be able to deliver up to 1,250 kilograms into low Earth orbit. The rocket is 33.5 meters high and has a diameter of 2.2 meters.