In the history of spaceflight, few companies have had as many first attempts at launch as Relativity Space. However, in the past week they have all joined together in what has become a sad trend – not launching their vehicles on the first attempt. This was notably true for their Terran 1 rocket, which was set to launch today but ended up being cancelled just shy of the window closing due to a technical issue.
Given the scrub, some in the aerospace industry are skeptical about Relativity’s upcoming launch of its Space System Design Specification 2 (SSDS-2) satellite. The company has a backup launch window tomorrow, though it’s unclear if they’ll attempt the launch again. Aerospace analyst Bruce Nolan said that SpaceX and Blue Origin have successfully launched more times than Relativity has over the past two years, and questioned whether or not Relativity can meet its ambitious timetables.
Since its creation in 2016, relativity space has managed to revolutionize the way rockets are manufactured by utilizing 3D printing techniques. By printing many different parts of a rocket together, they are able to reduce launch costs significantly.
What does it mean for a company to be valued at over $4 billion? For one, it means that the company is doing well — Relativity is able to generate a lot of revenue and make a significant impact on the industry. Additionally, being valued so high signifies that Relativity has an extremely large customer base that is looking for its products. It also indicates that the market sees great potential for Relativity’s products in the future.
The crew quickly worked to fix the issue, and continued the countdown until the call to scrub. However, due to oxygen temperatures being outside of normal limits, they aborted the launch shortly thereafter. With this setback, they are still hopeful that they can successfully dock with their intended destination later on in the mission.
Although not yet operational, this rocket launch from Blue Origin is a major step forward for the company. Designed as a technological validator, it demonstrates the viability of their 3D-printed rocket architecture. If all goes according to plan, this successful launch could mark the beginning of an exciting new era for Blue Origin.