With the first 3D-printed rockets, Relativity Space has obtained $650 million in Series E equity funding to compete with Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin.
Fidelity Management & Research Company - with participation from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, actor Jared Leto, co-founder and former CEO of Zillow Group Spencer Rascoff, BlackRock, Centricus, Coatue, and Soroban Capital - led the funding role.
The business's estimated valuation rose to almost $4.2 billion with $1.3 billion in total finance. It made it the second most valuable private equity space business behind SpaceX.
Terran R Specs: How Will Relativity Space Use The Money to Improve Rockets?
Relativity Space will use the money to expand the company's Terran R program and build long-term infrastructure. Terran R will be built on the same 3D printers and by the same team as Terran 1, which is already 85 percent complete and will launch later this year from the company's Cape Canaveral launch pad.
Space.com said Terran R is a 216-foot-tall, totally reusable two-stage rocket with a 16-foot diameter and a 5-meter payload fairing. Beginning in 2024, Relativity Space claims the rocket will be capable of lifting 44,000 pounds into low-Earth orbit. The rocket is equipped with seven 3D-printed Aeon R rocket engines, each capable of 302,000 pounds of thrust and one Aeon 1 vac engine on its upper stage.
The Long Beach, California-based company, can produce a full-size rocket in less than 60 days and with 100 fewer parts than the average rocket.
Will Relativity Establish Humanity's Industrial Basis on Mars?
CEO Tim Ellis explained that Relativity's aim is to establish humanity's industrial basis on Mars.
"We were inspired to make this vision a reality and believe there need to be dozens to hundreds of companies working to build humanity's multi-planetary future on Mars," Ellis said in a statement.
"Scalable, autonomous 3D printing is inevitably required to thrive on Mars, and Terran R is the second product step in a long-term journey Relativity is planning ahead."
Blue Origin Plans
Science Times earlier announced this week that Jeff Bezos and his brother Mark would join one lucky auction winner on Blue Origin's first crewed trip on July 20. They will occupy three of the six seats on New Shepard's first crewed suborbital trip, which will reach a height of almost 340,000 feet.
According to Blue Origin, the spacecraft - named after the first American in space, Alan Shepard - has now completed 15 successful journeys to space above the Kármán Line, an imaginary border between Earth's atmosphere and outer space.
Blue Origin's three-phase online auction began last month and will conclude on June 12th. The winning bid amount will be donated to Blue Origin's Club for the Future charity, which aims to inspire future generations to pursue STEM jobs and help develop the future of space life. The highest bid is at least $2 million, Science Times reported.
SpaceX suggested per Science Times that Starship's first orbital flight might happen later this year or in March 2022. In a petition with the Federal Communications Commission last month, SpaceX revealed that the trip would take off from the company's Boca Chica, Texas facilities and will last roughly 90 minutes.
The booster stage will separate and land in the Gulf of Mexico, about 20 miles from the shore, for around three minutes into the flight. Then, a Federal Communications Commission filing claimed that the Starship would next fly between the Florida Straights and into orbit before landing powered and targeted 62 miles off the northwest shore of Kauai "in a smooth ocean landing." The Starship is scheduled to reach a maximum altitude of roughly 72 miles.
Last month, SpaceX successfully landed its fifth test mission. During the six-minute flight, the unmanned Starship SN-15 soared upward, performed a "belly flop," and then righted itself before landing vertically.
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