California startup Relativity Space had to cancel the launch of the Terran 1 unmanned rocket, built using 3D printing, after several failed attempts. The rocket was designed as a cheaper and more efficient option for production and flight. The problem originated in the rocket’s automation, which caused the company to cancel the liftoff for the second time in less than a week. Subsequently, the company attempted another launch from Cape Canaveral in Florida but was forced to abort due to pressure problems in the rocket’s second stage.
The three-hour launch window began at 13:00 local time, but the countdown was stopped at one point due to a private boat violating a hazard zone. The previous launch scheduled for Wednesday was also delayed due to propellant temperature problems. If Terran 1 stays in low-Earth orbit, it will be the first privately funded vehicle to use methane as fuel and complete the mission on the first attempt, according to Relativity. The rocket is designed to carry 1,250 kilograms into low Earth orbit.
Terran 1 is built from 3D-printed metal alloys, including its engines. It is the largest 3D-printed object ever built, according to the company, and was created with the world’s largest 3D printers. While the rocket was expected to collect data and demonstrate that a 3D-printed rocket can withstand the rigors of a launch and flight in space, it is not expected to carry cargo on its first flight. Relativity promised to report on the new launch date shortly.
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