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Lockheed picks Relativity’s 3D printed rocket for NASA Tipping Point selection

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Lockheed Martin picked Relativity for the NASA Tipping Point mission. Relativity signed a contract with Lockheed to provide its rockets for a particularly complex mission Lockheed is undertaking for NASA’s Tipping Point program. While Relativity has not yet flown any fully 3D printed rocket, its technology promises to produce rockets in days instead of months once the development process will have been completed).

“The mission – Tech Crunch’s Devin Coldewey reports – “is a test of a dozen different cryogenic fluid management systems, including liquid hydrogen, which is a very difficult substance to work with indeed. The tests will take place on a single craft in orbit, which means it will be a particularly complicated one to design and accommodate.

“The payload itself—the article goes on—and its cryogenic systems will be designed and built by Lockheed and their partners at NASA, of course, but the company will need to work closely with its launch provider during development and especially in the leadup to the actual launch.”

“We’re building a custom payload fairing that has specific payload loading interfaces they need, custom fittings and adapters,” he said. “It still needs to be smooth, of course — to a layperson it will look like a normal rocket,” Relativity CEO Tim Ellis said. You can click here for the rest of the article.

So far Relativity has built a new facility and raised 140 million investments, the company has extended its launch capabilities and shown off many amazing photos and of its impressive DED 3D printing tech and renders of its upcoming rockets. However, 3dpbm has not been able to communicate directly with Relativity senior management to independently confirm the validity of the company’s 3D printing approach.

Now Relativity is partnering with Lockheed on the new NASA Tipping Point Program selections, which have an expected combined award value of more than $370 million. NASA’s Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) will negotiate with the companies to issue milestone-based firm-fixed-price contracts lasting for up to five years. No actual launch has yet been scheduled, but that’s a relative matter.

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Davide Sher

Since 2002, Davide has built up extensive experience as a technology journalist, market analyst and consultant for the additive manufacturing industry. Born in Milan, Italy, he spent 12 years in the United States, where he completed his studies at SUNY USB. As a journalist covering the tech and videogame industry for over 10 years, he began covering the AM industry in 2013, first as an international journalist and subsequently as a market analyst, focusing on the additive manufacturing industry and relative vertical markets. In 2016 he co-founded London-based 3dpbm. Today the company publishes the leading news and insights websites 3D Printing Media Network and Replicatore, as well as 3D Printing Business Directory, the largest global directory of companies in the additive manufacturing industry.

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