back to article Terran 1, world's first (mostly) 3D printed rocket, lifts off ... and fails to reach orbit

What's been described as the world's first 3D-printed-ish rocket, Terran 1, blasted off into the sky and failed to make orbit during its maiden voyage on Wednesday. Terran 1, built by Relativity Space, flew from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida at 2035 EST (0025 GMT). Plumes of orange and blue flames billowed …

  1. Sceptic Tank Silver badge

    Are we having fun yet?

    Maybe there should be less emphasis on having fun at work and more on getting the job done. Things should go better.

    Anyway, are we soon going to see rockets that 3D print themselves as they ascend? I mean: instead of dumping tonnes of metal in the ocean, maybe we can see a reprint of the first stage in the third stage. Something like that? Or maybe there can be a second edition printed and ready on the launchpad within days of the first edition not working. One can even print the payload in-flight after launch so that bidding for space on a rocket can continue while the rocket is still underway to that great junkyard in the sky.

    1. zuckzuckgo Silver badge

      Re: Are we having fun yet?

      Since they launched without a payload I think they can legitimately claim this as part of the development process. Of course reaching orbit would have put them much closer to a commercial launch. Which I'm sure would have made investors happier.

      And maybe they can just melt down the first stage and reprint it from the recycle material.

      1. seldom

        Re: Are we having fun yet?

        It's disruptive, so it must be worth Beeeellions

  2. _Elvi_

    Space is Hard

    .. That's why we do it.

    Their approach is novel, but I wonder the power costs compare with traditional CNC machining VS Wire Welder fabrication...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Space is Hard

      I'm sad it didn't make it all the way, it would have been the first rocket made with additive manufacturing to do so. If they get that going it opens up a whole host of new options for rocket manufacturing.

      Anyway, at least they got off the pad - the first attempt had to be aborted due to an anomalous reading somewhere which they didn't get addressed inside the launch window.

      Yup, space is hard. Well done for thinking differently, even if it didn't work out 100%

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Kudos for the engineering

        But I couldn't care less about the gimmick.

        They should keep leveraging the 3d manufacturing tech for it's merits, but in the rocketry game grams and dollars matter more than having a corporate shtick. If they can make a part lighter/stronger/cheaper by another process they should and need to if they are going to make it as a launch operator. Or they are going to get bought out for their IP and engineering and end up making parts for other peoples rockets.

        Though that's also not the worst gig in the world.

        But the QC process for additive manufacturing to meet aerospace requirements is it's own cost center, and as we recently saw with the failed rocket nozzle liners, failures come at a high cost. So they will need a streak of successful launches to demonstrate that they can deliver the preposterous reliability targets that industry expects. No pressure :-)

    2. Inkey

      Re: Space is Hard

      l dont have exact figures but the difference is the time it takes and the design options..

      On one of the prototype engines they stopped the printer to change a design mid print and then continued were they stopped. The print was completed in a week.

      Also there are shapes that can be printed that are impossible to machine or would take an inordinate amount of time, think pleniums and manafolds, traditional turning and milling would need many operations of the part beeing moved and rotated with each opp needing a sucsession if fixtures and vices to hold the forming shape.

      GE held a design compition some years ago for a new jet engine the 10 winning entries were mixed and iterated over several times, they cut there development times from 3 years to 6 months

  3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    While I applaud their achievement...

    ...I do wish these people stop touting their "super excitement" at fail to launch because "some key targets" were met and data was collected. Inside, I'm sure they are gutted. I have no doubt that the bits that did work were a success and that's a good thing, but the launch as whole was a failure. Just tell it like it is. The investors know, it didn't reach space. A major part of the launch failed. They will look into what happened and the investors will make their decisions appropriately. Just tell us it fucked up and they will study what went wrong and fix it. Be honest.

    1. Inkey

      Re: While I applaud their achievement...

      "Just tell us it fucked up and they will study what went wrong and fix it. Be honest."

      Yeah like Boeing do....

    2. FIA Silver badge

      Re: While I applaud their achievement...

      Did they fuck up, or did they just test publicly?

      IIRC no orbital class rocket has reached orbit on the first attempt.

  4. Francis Boyle Silver badge

    Déjà vu

    "But the rockets always blow up on the barge".

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