3D printed rocket launched, but not into space

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3D printed rocket launched, but not into space

This week the world’s first rocket was launched in Florida that almost completely rolled out of the 3D printer. And although (spoiler alert) the rocket did not reach its ultimate goal – space – it was, according to the initiators of Relativity nevertheless a success. After launch, just before midnight on Wednesday, everything seemed to be going according to plan. The first stage took Terran 1 a long way. Then unfortunately it went wrong.

Missile second stage failure

When the first stage “burned out” and separated from the rest of the rocket at an altitude of more than 75 kilometers and a speed of more than 7300 km/h, the second stage motor also appeared to be working as planned. However, shortly after that it failed due to a malfunction. As a result, the Terran 1 no longer had enough motive power to reach space and its intended orbit around the Earth.

Fans can watch the live stream of the launch below. The video starts about 1 minute before take-off.

Three times no luck

The launch was the third attempt to launch Terran 1 into space. In two previous attempts, the launch was aborted before the rocket was due to leave its launch pad. Problems with the weather—not very unusual for rocket launches—and fuel cooling failed those two attempts. In any case, on the third attempt the rocket got a lot further to its final target, but unfortunately three times this was not a charm.

The Terran 1 was a two-stage rocket with a diameter of two meters and a total length of 33 meters. More than three quarters (85%) of the Terran 1 consisted of parts made with a 3G printer. This included the ten engines, nine in the first stage and one in the second stage.

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