Relativity's Terran 1 vehicle has both stages mated at their Cape Canaveral facility ahead of Terran 1's maiden launch. Credit: Trevor Mahlmann for Relativity Space

Relativity Space Proceeds Towards First Launch Attempt

Relativity Space has been checking off important milestones as they work towards the "GLHF" mission on the maiden launch of Terran 1.

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Matthew B.

Matthew B.

Sat Nov 19 2022Written by Matthew B.

Relativity Space has been completing milestone after milestone as they work incredibly hard towards their first Terran-1 launch attempt, called "GLHF", slated for NET November.

Relativity Space has recently conducted a number of tests and also production accomplishments in beginning launch operations for their maiden flight. Yesterday, the two stages were mated inside the integration facility at SLC-16 in Cape Canaveral.

The teams at Relativity also conducted a Stage 1 Thrust Vectoring Control (TVC) test using the 8 outer engines on the booster. This test was conducted on the 10th November. Only these eight engines can gimbal, which provide control authority during flight. A video of this can be found on the company's twitter, here:

That's not all for Relativity's progress towards launch. Just over a month ago, they conducted a full 88-second static fire, or 'hot fire' ahead of stage integration. This test was successful, but not the only one in the Booster's testing history - over 6 ignitions and 185 seconds of total firings have been conducted on all 9 Aeon engines! These engines and autogenous pressurisation systems (see What is Terran 1?) "performed great"!

Seemingly, the next step is payload integration (not a commercial payload), fairing mating, some final checkouts, and then rollout ahead of launch.

What is the "GLHF" mission?

'GLHF' stands for 'Good Luck, Have Fun' and is the nickname of Terran 1's first orbital flight attempt mission, it is scheduled to launch from Space Launch Complex 16 (SLC-16) at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station no earlier than November, meaning a launch attempt could be imminent.

What is Terran 1?

Relativity's Terran 1 is the world's first entirely 3D-printed rocket, and has ground-breaking and unique architecture to accommodate for the ever changing spaceflight world. Terran 1 is 35m in height and is 2.3m in diameter. The vehicle uses Liquid Oxygen and Liquid Natural Gas (~97% methane) as propellants, and uses heat exchangers integrated into the engines to pressurise it's tanks in a process called autogenous pressurisation, which gets rid of the necessity for additional pressurisation tanks, reducing mass and therefore increasing the payload capability to orbit.

Terran 1's first stage is powered by 9 Aeon engines, which have a thrust of 100kN per sea level engine. The booster is 24.3m in length and is not reusable. The 8 outer engines on Terran 1's first stage are electrically gimballed, meaning they provide thrust vector control throughout flight.

Terran 1's second stage is powered by one AeonVac engine, which has a thrust of 113kN, and is 8.1m in length. The vehicle's fairings are 6.8m in length and 3m in diameter. Both the 2nd stage and fairings will not be recovered.