Start-up Relativity Space has raised $35m in a round of Series B financing that is expected to help the company develop rockets using 3D printing technology.

The financing round has been led by Playground Global and saw the participation of existing Series A investors Social Capital, Y Combinator Continuity and Mark Cuban.

This has increased Relativity’s total venture funding to more than $45m and is set to allow the company to grow its scalable, automated process for manufacturing and launching rockets.

It will help the company expand its current partnerships from more than $1bn worth of memorandums of understanding (MoU) and letters of intent (LoI) with various global commercial and government entities.

“By leveraging an all-in approach to 3D printing, we will fully automate the production of rockets.”

Relativity Space CEO and co-founder Tim Ellis said: “The future of space requires faster, cheaper, more flexible rocket production and launch that is simply not possible with traditional approaches.

“By leveraging an all-in approach to 3D printing, we will fully automate the production of rockets.

“This will change the way the launch industry views lead times, product iteration rates, and costs. Our technology development is also on-path toward scaling and sustaining an interplanetary society. We will build toward this amazing future far faster with our new capabilities.”

Since 2015, Relativity has built a metal 3D printer and completed more than 100 rocket engine test fires to aid manufacture of rockets that contain 3D printed parts.

The custom-built rockets are capable of launching Earth-orbiting satellites with large payloads, including satellites that are the size of a small car.

Relativity employs machine learning along with its custom software, hardware and proprietary metal alloys to develop the rockets. They feature 1,000 parts, compared to the 100,000 parts previously required to build these kinds of launch vehicles.

The process has also reduced the cost of labour and time required to manufacture rockets.