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Watch the largest 3D-printed rocket in historic launch today

Published Mar 8th, 2023 11:23AM EST
Terran 1 preparing for launch
Image: Relativity Space

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The inaugural flight of Relativity Space’s Terran 1 will lift off today. When the Terran 1 launches, it will bring to life Relativity’s biggest project to date, a massive 3D-printed rocket larger than any other 3D-printed object ever created to go to orbit. The rocket launch is one of the most anticipated of the year, and after the failure of Japan’s H3 rocket this week, space lovers could use some good news.

The Terran 1 launch is set to lift off at roughly 1:00 PM ET on Wednesday, March 8, from Cape Canaveral, Florida. The launch window will open at 1 p.m. and remain open for three hours. The mission is titled “Good Luck, Have Fun,” and will help set the tone for future missions using the 3D-printed rocket system Relativity has designed.

Notably, Relativity has foregone the standard final static fire tests that rockets usually undergo when preparing for the Terran 1’s launch, citing a want to reduce possible wear and tear on the rocket.

Roughly 85 percent of Terran 1’s material is 3D-printed, though Relativity hopes to increase that percentage to around 95. By utilizing 3D-printed materials, the hope is that Relativity can cut costs for missions exorbitantly, which could help its Terran R rocket lead the first commercial mission to Mars.

The real test is seeing how the 3D-printed materials do under the stress of the Terran 1 launch. 3D-printed materials should also be lighter than the traditional metals used to build rockets, which should help with the cost of fuel and other factors that have made programs like the Space Launch System unsustainable for many.

If this launch is successful, which Relativity is banking it will be, using 3D-printed materials in rocket designs could become more mainstream, cutting the cost of exploration missions and trips to orbit by a large margin. You can watch the Terran 1 launch live in the video above and on YouTube.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.

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