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Launch of rocket made almost entirely of 3D parts aborted at last minute

The launch of a rocket made mostly from 3D-printed parts had to be aborted at the last minute because of a temperature problem.

California-based Relativity Space was attempting to launch the 33-metre rocket, called Terran, from a former missile site at Cape Canaveral in Florida.

About 85% of Terran is made of 3D parts printed at the company’s factory in Long Beach, California – including its engines.

Relativity Space is hoping to increase that percentage even further on future versions.

As the attempt was made to launch Terran, on-board flight computers halted the countdown with just over a minute remaining because of a temperature issue with the rocket’s upper stage.

Mission control decided to tackle the problem and try again before the launch window closed, but in the end it had to delay.

It is not clear when the company will try again.

More on Florida

If and when Terran does make it into the sky, it will be carrying only a memento: the first metal 3D print from the company’s printers.

Terran is the largest 3D-printed object to attempt a launch, Relativity Space said.

SpaceX’s Falcon rockets have been flying with 3D-printed parts for years – but not in the proportion that Relativity Space has been utilising.

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