Social Navigation

3D-printed rocket remains grounded after more launches aborted


CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A rocket made almost entirely of 3D-printed parts made its debut flight within half a second of detonation Saturday, but remained grounded after successive launches aborted.

The engines ignited, but abruptly stopped, leaving Relativity Space’s rocket, named Terran, stationary on its platform.

Launch controllers reset the countdown clocks and aimed for the last possible moment of the three-hour window at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. But again onboard computers stopped the countdown, this time with 46 seconds left. A cause for the problems was not given.

The first launch attempt, Wednesday, was aborted after a minute because of a bad valve.

It was not immediately known when the company would try again.

With a height of 33 meters, the rocket is relatively small. Relativity Space said 85% of the rocket, including the engines, came from the huge 3D printers at the company’s headquarters in Long Beach, California.

Since this is a test flight, everything on board the rocket is the company’s first 3D metal print. The company wants to put the souvenir, along with the second stage, into a low, short-lived orbit.


The Associated Press Health and Science division is supported by the Science and Educational Media Group of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.