CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (WOFL FOX 35) - A young space company has just taken a giant leap, getting its own launch pad, and the rockets it wants to send to space are made through 3D printing.
SpaceX , Blue Origins, Virgin Atlantic are the names we know at Cape Canaveral. Soon, joining their ranks, will be Relativity Space. What makes them unique is how they produce the rockets. The company says it can build a rocket in 60 days using massive 3D printers.
“The whole advantage of 3D printing is speeding up the prototyping process,” said
Jim Brenner, an associate professor of chemical and biomedical engineering at Florida Institute of Technology. Brenner also chairs the "nano" technology program. Brenner says 3D printers are also cutting down costs for companies with their sights set on space.
Indeed, Relativity says their competitors products have 100,000 parts, while theirs contain under 1,000. Relativity says a SpaceX launch costs SpaceX approximately $62 million. Relativity can launch for approximately $10 million.
The company has just won a "statement of capability" from the U.S. Air Force, that means Launch Complex 16 is their site. They hope to be launching in 2020.
In the meantime, Brenner says Relativity's business model will be an inspiration for his students.
“And to that point, we are trying to train them to be entrepreneurs as well as engineers,” Brenner said.
One of the founders of Relativity left SpaceX in 2015. Mark Cuban is an investor.