Rocket construction firm Relativity Space Inc. announced a contract with Canadian-based telecommunications firm and satellite operator Telesat to launch satellites into orbit on Telesat’s Terran 1 rocket.
Relativity builds rockets using 3D printing technology at its Inglewood factory. The company did not disclose contract details.
“Early in our program we decided that in addition to working with outstanding leaders in satellite manufacturing and launch services who we know well, Telesat should also include companies whose technologies and manufacturing methods offer lower costs and greater flexibility for deploying our constellation. Relativity is just such a company with their metal 3D printing, use of robotics and other advances,” Telesat Chief Technical Officer Dave Wendling said in a statement.
Relativity, which aims to conduct its inaugural orbit test launch by the end of 2020, recently secured a launch site at Cape Canaveral U.S. Air Force Base in Florida.
On March 21, the company secured an agreement to test rockets the NASA Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. Under the 20-year agreement, Relativity will have more than 25 acres to test up to 36 rockets annually. Relativity believes it can build a rocket for as low as $10 million by using 3D printing technology and automating 95 percent of rocket material construction.
“Our disruptive, autonomous 3D printing platform ensures we can quickly scale support for Telesat’s constellation, while accelerating launch lead time and reducing launch costs per satellite,” Relativity Chief Executive Tim Ellis said in a statement.
Relativity investors included Mountain View-based startup accelerator Y Combinator and Palo Alto-based investment firm Social Capital. The company has raised $44.5 million since its 2016 incorporation according to industry tracker PitchBook Data Inc.
Most recently, Relativity raised a $35 million Series B round led by Palo Alto-based investor Playground Global finalized in March 2018. Santa Monica-based venture funder Wavemaker Partners participated in the round as a new investor.
Dallas Mavericks owner and investor Mark Cuban and lingerie firm MeCommerce Inc. (doing business as ThirdLove) Chief Executive David Spector are among Relativity’s angel investors.
Tech reporter Samson Amore can be reached at email@example.com or (323) 556-8335. Follow him on Twitter @samsonamore.
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