Friday, January 18, 2019

Relativity gets launch pad

Relativity Space, a three-year-old start-up that aims to build rockets using 3D printers, announced a contract Thursday with the Air Force to build and operate a launch facility at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla. The five-year “multi-user” agreement means Relativity can begin operating out of Launch Complex 16 (LC-16), the historic location built in the 1950s and site of hundreds of American space launches. There is no monetary exchange or lease payment to the Air Force. The agreement includes an option to extend for an exclusive 20-year term. It's the fourth privte company to have an orbital launch site at Cape Canaveral. The others are SpaceX, United Launch Alliance and Blue Origin. Reltivity CEO Tim Ellis estimates the launch facilities represent more than $10 million worth of existing infrastructure. Relativity has built one of the world’s largest 3-D printers, called Stargate, and has developed its own rocket engine, Aeon 1. Relativity has a 20-year leasing agreement with NASA’s Stennis Space Center (SSC), Miss., to test fire its rocket engines. The contract gives Relativity access to four robust testing chambers at SSC. Relativity, headquartered in Los Angeles, Calif., is looking for more space in L.A. It has grown from 14 employees a year ago to 60. (Source: CNBC, 01/17/19) Previous