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Relativity Building Robot Rocket Factory Ahead Of Launches From Cape Canaveral

Rendering of Relativity's autonomous rocket facility at Stennis Space Center. Photo: Relativity Space

A private space company secured a deal with NASA to build a robotic rocket manufacturing factory. The rocket will launch from Cape Canaveral as early as next year.

Relativity’s robotic manufacturers will build the company’s Terran 1 — an entirely 3D printed rocket that can launch nearly 3,000 pounds of stuff into low Earth orbit.

The facility, leased by NASA, is located in Mississippi at the agency’s Stennis Space Center. The company plans to truck the completed rockets to a launch facility at Cape Canaveral.

“We’re targeting one manufacturing line to manufacture between 12 and 24 rockets a year,” said Jordan Noone, Relativity’s chief operating officer. “One of the benefits of our manufacturing approach is greatly reducing the lead time to make one of these. Our goal is 60 days from beginning a print to having the rocket flown.”

The company is already breaking ground at Cape Canaveral’s Launch Complex 16 ahead of a planned launch at the end of 2020.

Relativity joins a number of companies developing small launch vehicles. Texas-based Firefly Aerospace will also build and launch its rockets from Cape Canaveral.

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Brendan Byrne

About Brendan Byrne

Space Reporter and 'Are We There Yet?' Host

Brendan covers space news for WMFE, everything from rocket launches to the latest scientific discoveries in our universe. He hosts WMFE's weekly radio show and podcast "Are We There Yet?" which explores human space exploration. Brendan is a native Floridian, born and raised in Broward County. He moved to ... Read Full Bio »