Satellite launch services company Relativity Space and microwave plasma technology developer 6K have announced a partnership for the development of space rocket components made from sustainable materials.

Under the strategic partnership, the companies will create a closed-loop supply chain to convert certified scrap materials produced at Relativity into powder by 6K. Relativity will in turn reprint the powder.

The companies will also explore new materials created specifically for rocket manufacturing and space travel.

Relativity Space CEO Tim Ellis said: “Relativity is completely reimagining the aerospace supply chain, by creating an autonomous robotic factory that can additively manufacture a rocket in 60 days.

“This partnering with 6K will add another important element to our very unique approach: the ability to reuse materials. We are looking forward to working with 6K to add this sustainability to our supply chain while ensuring closed-loop traceability all the way through.”

Under the collaboration, Relativity and 6K also signed an agreement that details a three-phase approach from a proof of concept all the way through a Relativity printed part.

As part of the project, scrap material produced at Relativity will be directly collected and 6K’s UniMelt proprietary process will be used to deliver certified powder to a final printed part that will be suitable for Relativity’s production.

6K CEO Dr Aaron Bent said: “Relativity is pushing the boundaries of additive manufacturing by 3D printing a complete rocket and we see this partnership as a natural extension of their forward-thinking practice.

“Our ability to turn their used powder and parts into premium powder through the UniMelt process provides them with a sustainable source for AM powder.”

Last month, Iridium Communications signed a contract with Relativity Space to deploy satellites to orbit.