AMS Spring 2023

NASA Stennis Space Center: Relativity to Expand Testing Facilities & Begin 3D Printing Robots

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“Rockets built and flown in days instead of years” – Relativity, headquartered in Los Angeles, CA

NASA continues to embrace 3D printing, but that is nothing new; in fact, they have been behind such technology almost since its inception many decades ago. Collaborations between NASA and other organizations have lent themselves to enormous innovation, and now, the aerospace giant will welcome Relativity’s first autonomous rocket factory at the Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Mississippi.

The rocket maker and launch services leader will continue to increase their presence at Stennis, along with being the recipient of capital investment incentives from the Mississippi Development Authority, promoting their work in 3D printing and robotics for manufacturing rockets, along with furthering testing of Relativity’s Terran 1 rocket launch vehicles.

Relativity’s partnership with the Mississippi Development Authority is supported by a significant cost reimbursement and tax incentive package for Relativity’s employment and capital investments for advanced aerospace manufacturing and technology development in the State of Mississippi,” states the company in their recent press release sent to 3DPrint.com.

It is easy to understand why Relativity is such a welcome tenant; after all, they are in position to transform aerospace manufacturing, offering a reconfigurable platform for machine learning, software, 3D printing in metal, and robotics—with no fixed tooling, a streamlined supply chain, and part count reduced by 100 times.

“The Mississippi Gulf Coast has a strong aerospace presence, and Relativity’s expansion at Stennis further positions our state as a leader in this prominent sector,” Governor Phil Bryant said. “The important work that will be done for Relativity by our skilled workforce will play a crucial role in developing new methods to connect to outer space and other planets.”

Working toward their first orbital test launch at the end of 2020, the Relativity team will be preparing with assembly, testing, and creating both a comprehensive 3D printing and robotics factory. This signifies the beginning of rockets to be produced via such technology.

The Relativity rocket factory

“We are excited to partner with NASA and the Mississippi Development Authority to bring our patented 3D printing rocket platform to Hancock County,” said Jordan Noone, cofounder and CTO of Relativity. “We believe this groundbreaking technology is the future of aerospace manufacturing, and we look forward to bringing this innovation to the Gulf Coast.”

This new program means that the Relativity team will enjoy exclusive space at Stennis Space Center, with features such as:

  • A nine-year lease for the use of 220,000 square feet
  • An 80-foot high bay
  • Multiple bridge cranes
  • Extensive industrial infrastructure

Relativity will also have the option to extend the current nine-year lease for another ten later.

“This agreement demonstrates again NASA’s commitment to work with our industry partners to expand commercial access to low-Earth orbit. This helps NASA maintain focus on the ambitious Artemis program that will land the first female and the next male on the south pole of the moon by 2024. Relativity is a valuable member of the Stennis federal city and we look forward to building on our already successful partnership. This is a significant expansion of their presence at Stennis and we appreciate their confidence in making south Mississippi an integral part of their future,” said Dr. Rick Gilbrech, Director, Stennis Space Center.

Through the factory build-out and expansion, the company will create a total of 200 jobs and invest $59 million in the state of Mississippi. They will also be creating:

  • Regional workforce development programs
  • University and education outreach
  • Community encouragement initiatives

“This partnership will foster innovation, investment, and growth in Mississippi,” added Tobias Duschl, VP of Operations at Relativity. “The integration of our 3D printing rocket production and testing facilities at one site will also enable Relativity to offer greater flexibility to commercial and government entities needing faster, more frequent, and lower cost access to space.”

Most of the world is completely enamored of space travel and all the accompanying science and concepts, fascinated with learning more about collaborations in aerospace developments such as those relying on 3D printing to improve liquid rocket engines, perform studies on topics like microbial risk, and even make filament for 3D printing in space. Discuss this article and other 3D printing topics at 3DPrintBoard.com.

[Source / Images: Relativity]

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