The 3D-printed missile remains grounded after multiple launch interruptions


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A rocket made almost entirely of 3D-printed parts appeared within half a second of its launch Saturday on its debut flight, but remained grounded after the launch sequence was aborted.

The engines ignited, but suddenly shut down, leaving the Relativity Space rocket, named Terran, resting on its pad.

Launch controllers reset the countdown clocks and headed for the last possible moment of the three-hour window at the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. But once again, the on-board flight computers stopped the countdown, this time with 45 seconds remaining.

Relativity Space blamed the first afternoon problem on automation software and the second on low fuel pressure.

Wednesday’s first launch attempt was aborted after one minute due to a bad valve.

There was no immediate word on when the company might try again.

At 110 feet (33 meters), the rocket is relatively small. Relativity Space said 85 percent of the rocket, including its engines, came off the massive 3D printers at the company’s headquarters in Long Beach, California.

Given that this is a test flight, everything aboard the rocket is the company’s first 3D metal print. The company aims to place the souvenir, along with the second stage, into a low, short-duration orbit.


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