Terran 1 3D printed rocket is a small launch vehicle being developed by American aerospace manufacturing company Relativity Space. It is said to be the world’s first rocket built using 3D printed alloy in less than 60 days.

It is specifically designed to serve the changing needs of satellite operators by offering the most agile and cost-efficient launch service in the market. A dedicated mission to a low Earth orbit (LEO) by Terran 1 is estimated to cost $12m.

The Terran 1 launch vehicle is being built at Relativity Space’s Stargate factory in Los Angeles, US, which is the only aerospace factory in the world to combine 3D printing, autonomous robotics, and artificial intelligence.

Terran 1 details

The Terran 1 rocket will be approximately 110ft-tall and will be equipped with hand prepped multi-jet fusion (MJF) parts. It will be primed and painted using automotive grade paint and a urethane clear coat.

"It is said to be the world’s first rocket built using 3D printed alloy in less than 60 days."

The rocket will have the capacity to carry a maximum payload of 1,250kg to 185km LEO, a nominal payload of 900kg to 500km sun-synchronous orbit (SSO), and a high-altitude payload of 700kg to 1,200km SSO.

The Terran 1’s structure and engines will be built using proprietary 3D printed alloy, which reduces the part count by 100 times compared to a typical rocket. 3D printing technology also increases overall system reliability and operating costs by minimising the touchpoints and lead times.


The Terran 1 rocket will employ nine Aeon 1 engines for the first stage and a single restart capable Aeon Vac engine for the second stage. Both engines feature a gas generator engine cycle, autogenous pressurisation, and gas-gas torch type ignition. Each engine is powered by liquid oxygen and liquid natural gas propellants.

The evolvable engine architecture provides agility from the development phase through the operation. Relativity Space’s development process reduces the number of component interfaces and facilitates streamlined automation of engine production.

The engines provide enhanced mission reliability through reduced part count in the engine combustion chambers, reaction control thrusters, vehicle pressurisation systems, igniters, and turbo-pumps.

The Aeon 1 engine provides a thrust of 25,400lbf-vac, while the Aeon Vac provides 29,800lbf-vac. The Aeon engine completed more than 300 test fires.

Launch missions of Terran 1

In December 2020, Nasa awarded venture class launch services demonstration 2 (VCLS Demo 2) contract to Relativity Space to place CubeSats into LEO. The planned launch will take place from Relativity’s orbital launch site, Cape Canaveral Launch Complex-16, in June 2022.

Relativity Space signed a launch services agreement (LSA) with TriSept, a provider of launch integration and programme management services, for a full mission on board Terran 1 to support a ride-share manifest with a combination of small and large satellites. The launch will be performed from Relativity’s launch sites at Vandenberg Air Force Base or Cape Canaveral in 2022.

Contractors involved

PacMin assisted through the design and fabrication process of display models of Terran 1 based on the surface data and exterior design information. The models serve as mementos for the company’s important shareholders and key demonstrative pieces for use by its business development team for marketing.

Clean TeQ collaborated with Relativity Space to develop scandium-aluminium alloys  required for 3D printing of the rocket. Both companies signed a binding scandium off-take heads of agreement to ensure the supply of scandium oxide from Clean TeQ’s Sunrise Project in Australia.

Stargate factory details

Relativity Space’s Stargate factory houses the world’s largest metal 3D printers and artificial intelligence-driven controls that enable a streamlined launch procurement and greater flexibility to generate customised mission-specific solutions.

The factory uses data-driven learning to improve and automate the process of rocket manufacturing. It aims to provide affordable access to space in LEO and beyond to government and commercial customers.