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Second stage on Relativity’s first launch fails to fire

The first test launch of Relativity’s 3D rocket, Terran-1, achieved the mission’s minimum goals, with the first stage performing exactly as planned and the 3D-printed rocket successfully completing engine cut-off and stage separation.

At that point the second stage engine failed to fire, and the upper stage fell into the ocean.

I have embedded the live stream from last night below. The company had made it clear that their number one goal for this flight was getting that 3D-printed rocket through max-q, the time when the atmospheric pressures on the rocket are their greatest. In this area the launch was a success.

This was also the first American launch of a methane-fueled rocket, and it was fascinating seeing the difference in the rocket’s plumes from other fuel types. Terran-1’s engine plumes were a clear distinct blue, quite different from the white and smokey plumes produced by solid-fueled and kerosene-fueled rocket engines, and the almost invisible plume of space shuttle’s hydrogen-fueled engines.

As yet, no methane-fueled rocket has reached orbit, though two Chinese companies and Relativity have tried. SpaceX will try itself when it launches Superheavy/Starship.

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.


  • sippin_bourbon

    I think it fired. The video seems to show a action, briefly, on the 2nd stage. However, it either failed to maintain it, or had some other fault.

    Either way, for all the companies that are investing in methalox, this represents proof of concept.

  • Leonard

    Thank you.

  • pawn

    This is a great start guys. I hope they can try again soon. A problem like they had seems like something obvious happened. Anyone know or wants to take a guess?

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