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Relativity signs deal to launch Impulse Space’s missions to Mars

Capitalism in space: The commercial rocket startup Relativity has now signed a deal with the orbital tug startup Impulse Space to launch at least one mission to Mars, possibly as early as 2024.

Impulse Space has announced that the company will launch the first commercial payload to Mars on board Relativity Space’s Terran R rocket. Under the new partnership, Relativity will launch Impulse’s Mars Cruise Vehicle and Mars Lander from Cape Canaveral, Florida, as part of an exclusive agreement until 2029.

The earliest anticipated launch window occurs between 2024 and 2025 and would make use of Relativity’s fully reusable Terran R rocket launching from Space Launch Complex 16 (SLC-16) at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.

Terran R is planned to complete the trans-Mars injection burn to place the cruise vehicle, carrying the lander, on a trajectory toward Mars. The cruise vehicle will then separate from the lander that, protected by an aeroshell, will enter the Martian atmosphere and attempt to propulsively land on the surface of the red planet.

To say that this plan is tentative is to state the obvious. First, Relativity has not yet launched its first rocket. It hopes to do so before the end of this year, but that rocket is the Terran-1, much smaller than the proposed Terran-R. Second, Impulse itself has not yet launched any tugs, though its founder, Tom Mueller, was the head engine development at SpaceX when it developed the Merlin, Draco, Super Draco, and Raptor engines. After leaving SpaceX he created Impulse Space to provide orbital and interplanetary transportation for others. It appears he has decided that an early Mars mission will be the best way to put his company on the map.

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.


  • David Eastman

    Successfully putting a lander on Mars will definitely put his company on the map. That is quite a goal for a new company. It’s amazing how much things have changed in the last few years, not long ago such a proposal would just get laughed at.

  • David Ross

    I read the New York Times piece on it, posted at Drudge. The NYT might not be laughing but I detected several suppressed giggles.
    There is, in that piece, a timeline: “two and a half years”. Here are the T/M launch windows. There are no 2023 windows; the 2024 windows are mid-October through November. 2.5 years from now should be January 2024 nu?
    I suppose that’s where the [specific] Impulse in the company’s name comes in – they are shaving time off transfer. Interesting if it works. Although, the cargo mass is small.

  • David Ross

    *Jan 2025, derp. Sorry M.Z.

  • Edward

    David Eastman and his reference to laughter reminds me of the track record for successfully reaching Mars. About half the Mars missions have ended in failure (I think someone hypothesized about them being eaten by a space goat, or something). Mars is a challenging first mission for even a national space program, and here are commercial companies trying it for their maiden missions. This is the kind of boldness that we should expect from our commercial companies. Except that failure could be a bad black stain on their reputations. Success, on the other hand, would be impressive. Really, really impressive.

    David Ross talking about traveling to Mars reminded me of a video. Last year, Scott Manley talked a bit about travel to Mars, pork chops, and timing of the departure. (4 minutes)

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