On March 23rd, 2023, Relativity Space successfully launched its Terran 1 rocket. Despite suffering an early engine cutoff after Max-Q and second stage separation, this mission still marks a major milestone for the company and the commercial space industry as a whole. The launch took place at the company’s launch site at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, and the rocket did not carry a functioning payload or deployable nosecone. One of the unique features of the Terran 1 is its use of methane-fueled engines, which provide better performance than traditional rocket engines and produce a vibrant blue exhaust flame. The Terran 1 is also notable for its extensive use of additive manufacturing technology which accounts for over 85% of the rocket’s mass. Using this method, Relativity expects to produce more cost-effective rocket components at a much faster rate. This launch demonstrates the viability of these innovative technologies in commercial spaceflight, and highlights Relativity Space’s position as a leader in the launch industry.   

Shows blue methane fueled exhaust flame

Methane Fuel Exhaust, Credit: Relativity Space

Shows Relativity manufacturing technology

Additive Manufactured Nosecone, Credit: Relativity Space