Relativity has begun stacking its Terran-1 rocket with a goal of soon rolling it out to the launchpad for static fire tests.
The launch date itself remains uncertain. Though the company hopes to lift-off before the end of the year, it also has not committed to that goal.
“We are confident in our tech readiness to launch this year, and we’re still marching toward that,” Ellis said. “But there are a few external factors as we’re getting close to the end of the year that could impact the timeline for us. It’s not a guarantee, but it could.”
Those external factors include other spaceport users in Florida, including uncertainty around the mid-November launch of NASA’s Space Launch System rocket, and blackout periods as part of the military’s Holiday Airspace Release Plan. This effectively precludes launches around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day due to the high volume of airline flights.
Ellis said the company is progressing well toward securing a launch license for “Good Luck Have Fun,” and noted that the Federal Aviation Administration accepted its methodology for debris mitigation as well as its trajectory analysis software.
The article at the link adds some additional details about the company’s plans. This Terran-1 rocket appears to be its equivalent of SpaceX’s Falcon-1. The company plans to quickly replace it with its much larger Terran-R rocket, comparable to the Falcon-9 in power and price. And it already has won $1.2 billion in launch contracts, and hopes to launch within two years.
I wonder if Terran-R will launch before Blue Origin’s much touted but repeatedly delayed New Glenn rocket. The article itself appears to think so, since it focuses entirely on the competition between SpaceX and Relativity, as if Blue Origin and New Glenn do not even exist.
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