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Relativity signs deal to expand rocket facility

Capitalism in space: The rocket company Relativity Space announced yesterday that it has signed an agreement for a major expansion of its rocket manufacturing facility in California.

The firm — fresh off a $650 million Series A fundraising round announced earlier this month — said Wednesday (June 30) it has signed for a 1-million-square-foot (93,000 square meters) headquarters factory at the Goodman Commerce Center, in its current hometown of Long Beach, California.

The 93-acre plant used to host Boeing’s C-17 military transport aircraft manufacturing, with the last C-17 produced there in 2015. Now, Relativity’s factory will make it the anchor tenant for a planned 437-acre business district west of the Long Beach Airport, the company said. It also plans to hold on to its existing factory space to continue producing its Terran 1 rocket.

Relativity will occupy the new space in January 2022, which will eventually host dozens of the company’s proprietary Stargate printers that can produce Terran 1 and its newly announced reusable version of the rocket, called Terran R. Relativity said the facility will include a fusion of 3D printing, artificial intelligence and autonomous robotics to create a new rocket in less than 60 days.

Relativity has not yet launched any rockets nor has it conducted any test flights. Its first test flight of Terran-1 is presently scheduled for later this year, though no date is set. The company is one of five American new rocket startups that say they will do their first launch before the end of 2021.


Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!


From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.


“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.


All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.


  • Mark

    For these five American new rocket startups, has anyone written about the business case they present to investors? The latest figure I read for SpaceX Falcon 9, the cost for launch is around $2500 per kilogram, and maybe lower than that currently. Wouldn’t these other companies have to come close to that cost in the next few years in order to survive?

  • Edward

    Mark asked: “The latest figure I read for SpaceX Falcon 9, the cost for launch is around $2500 per kilogram, and maybe lower than that currently. Wouldn’t these other companies have to come close to that cost in the next few years in order to survive?

    That is the beauty of competition. It drives down the cost of goods and services. $2,700 per kilogram is for a launch in which the booster is expended, but it is closer to $3,200 when the booster is recovered, both assuming full capacity and a single customer with standard requirements on the launch.

    In the meantime, there is currently far more demand for small satellite launches than the available smallsat launch companies can supply. SpaceX is now filling the gap in this supply/demand relationship, at $5,000 per kilogram (minimum price) for a large number of customers, but as the small launchers come online it could be that SpaceX leaves that business for its core business.

    the total cost of a SpaceX rideshare launch could be as low as $5000 per kilogram – incredibly cheap relative to almost any other option.

    An advantage that the smallsat launch companies have over SpaceX is that they can launch into unique orbits. SpaceX can only launch cheaply if it is taking a large number (weight) of satellites to virtually the same orbit, otherwise Falcon 9 is an expensive option. So far, it looks like the few existing operational smallsat companies are getting more launch contracts than they can currently handle. SpaceX seems to be covering overflow (backlog) rather than being a problem for these companies:

    [Astra] says it has contracts for 50 launches, and will ramp up to weekly launches next year.

  • Jeff Wright

    Nuytten’ company Nuytco is building the Exosuit 2000 with once classified steel alloys for military submarines only recently permitted for private industry.

    Perfect for Terran R.

    Robert, could you contact Mr Nuytten and info about this alloy? The space community must needs be aware of this development

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