Space company Relativity Space is known for creating its rockets using 3D printing. Just recently, the company made headlines for a failed rocket launch. Now the company is providing an update on its new Terran R rocket.
Terran R is a two-stage, 270-foot-tall rocket that can deliver payloads to a variety of orbits. The architecture allows for a rapidly scaling launch cadence. The first stage is reusable and can deliver 23,500 kg to low Earth orbit (LEO) or 5,500 kg to geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO). Beginning in 2026, Terran R will launch from Space Launch Complex 16 in Cape Canaveral, Florida.
“Our first chapter as a company was to prove to the world 3D printed rockets were viable. We just did that with Terran 1. Our second chapter is to build the next great launch company with Terran R,” said Relativity Space co-founder and CEO Tim Ellis.
The rocket uses 3D printing technology to reduce vehicle complexity and improve manufacturability. The first stage will feature 13 3D-printed Aeon R LOx/methane rocket engines. The second stage houses a single Aeon Vac LOx/methane engine.
Terran R features near-body aero strakes, four unique landing legs and four printed movable grid fins that optimize first stage reusability. The innovative architecture enables high angle-of-attack re-entry, reduces fuel requirements for re-entry ignitions and improves control competence.
The 3D-printed Aeon R engines are highly reusable and benefit from Relativity’s long experience in gas generator engine development. The engines are manufactured using significant advances in additive manufacturing technology, resulting in lower cost and greater robustness.
The Terran R was designed for reusability from day one. After customer payloads are launched into orbit, the first stage will begin its re-entry, landing and reuse. The first stage will touch down on a ship in the ocean and then be deployed for inspection, overhaul and recertification for its next flight.
“Terran R is the most customer-centric next-generation launch vehicle. It is not a conventional rocket. This is a new breed of launch vehicle with the right payload performance, reliability, focus on speed of development, optimized reusability, focus on scalability of launch ramp rate, and ultimately cost reduction baked into the architecture design and our program plans from day one,” said Ellis.
“Terran 1 was like a concept car, redefining the boundaries of what is possible by developing many valuable brand-new technologies well ahead of their time. Terran R is the mass-market, huge demand product that will be amazing precisely because it brings those ‘concept car’ developments into full maturity, enabling Relativity to become a disruptive, diversified provider in solving the glaring medium-to-heavy lift launch market gap for customers with a new vehicle faster than previously possible.”
Find out more about Relativity Space at relativityspace.com.