The future of spaceflight looks bright thanks to private companies that are innovating at an astonishing rate. While most of the focus is currently on applications like satellites and returning to the moon, Mars remains an important part of the equation.
That’s why one startup, Relativity Space, was recently able to raise $500 million in new funding. The company known for making 3D-printed rockets wants to industrialize the Red Planet with large-scale 3D printing. In the meantime, the tech could also be helpful on Earth for things like affordable housing development and rapid building construction.
Big Money, Bigger Ideas
Relativity Space isn’t shy about its lofty ambitions. The company is aggressively pursuing a number of goals that would be challenging to achieve on their own—let alone simultaneously. Its latest fundraising is a testament to those efforts and will help Relativity achieve even bigger goals in the years ahead.
The $500 million comes from a number of venture capital groups. Leading the way was Tiger Global Management. Fidelity Management & Research Company, Baillie Gifford, Iconiq Capital, General Catalist, and others also took part in the round.
It brings Relativity’s total funding to more than $700 million. Thanks to that backing, the startup is almost ready to launch the world’s first fully 3D-printed orbital rocket. That is slated to take place in 2021.
Meanwhile, the new funding will help Relativity grow extensively in the new few years. CEO Tim Ellis has noted that his company has several initiatives underway that deal with life on Earth and in space. Considering the startup’s area of focus, that is a good thing.
It appears that large-scale 3D printing is poised to make a big impact in the years to come. Relativity will be ready to claim a piece of the market whether those applications are in space or on Earth.
The fresh funding is a fitting way to end the year for Relativity Space. While the rest of the world was dealing with COVID-19, the startup continued to grow and achieved several milestones in the process.
For one, it secured its first contract with NASA as one of the agency’s Tipping Point partners. It will perform a launch demonstration of a new cryogenic fluid management system in partnership with Lockheed Martin. The mission is scheduled to take place in 2023 and will utilize Relativity’s 3D-printed Terran 1 rocket.
Internally, the startup hit several big milestones. It opened a new 120,000-square-foot development facility in Long Beach. Relativity also started using its third-generation Stargate 3D printers.
The machines were a huge part of the startup’s success amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Since the majority of its business uses automated technologies like 3D printing and robotics, it doesn’t need to have many people involved in the manufacturing process. That helped Relativity avoid shutdowns related to the virus while companies around the world were forced to put their operations on hold.
With that in mind, it doesn’t look like there is much that can stop Relativity Space. Its latest funding will help it continue growing in the years ahead as the future of large-scale 3D printing becomes clearer.