Author Topic: Relativity Space - Terran R  (Read 126195 times)

Online trimeta

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Re: Relativity Space - Terran R
« Reply #20 on: 06/08/2021 04:05 pm »
Up until very recently the cost of getting the space was very very expensive and relativity few could afford the costs of launch and the costs of designing satellites and other space craft where you had to take account of every gram of weight because launching was ( and mostly still it) very very expensive.


If in 5 years we now have 2 fully reusable launch vehicles cutting the cost of access to space by multiple orders of magnitude, many more companies will be able to launch objects into orbit and behind and because they will not have to why so much about how much every component weighs build them much cheaper using of the shelf parts, enabling yet more companies to build more objects and launch more.


The market would explode! Or should if we have enough imagination.

I'm personally a bit skeptical that the market will explode just because cheap launch becomes available: Falcon 9 didn't substantially change the size of the launch market, for example. If launch companies want more customers, they need to actively create those customers. SpaceX did it with Starlink, and both Rocket Lab and Astra have plans to do this via building their own satellite bus which will lower the cost of entry for new customers to get something into space. I don't think Relativity has even spoken of an in-space maneuvering kick stage, though, let alone a long-term satellite bus. I don't know if they have any plans to actually grow the market, or if they just hope that "if we build it, they will come" is enough. Or maybe they hope everyone else working to grow the market will benefit them indirectly.

Online trimeta

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Re: Relativity Space - Terran R
« Reply #21 on: 06/08/2021 04:11 pm »
Another sliver reusable two stage methalox rocket? Too small for anything BEO. I don't get the Mars part, except just vying for mindspace.  Even Starship is really too small but the best they can do now. I do like it since this is what SpaceX would have done after F9 if they weren't Mars obsessed. Musk said F9 was 3.66m for Roads and their CA factory and that always limited what they could do. 5m was always more optimal.

I think a large part of Relativity's Mars ambitions are actually "design a version of our 3D printer which fits into Starship's payload bay, along with appropriate feed stock, and then the first colonists will use our technology for building and repairing their base." So not necessarily actually being the rocket used to carry stuff to Mars, but rather "we built a rocket with our 3D printers, to demonstrate that they can definitely handle whatever the colonists will need to have printed."

I certainly wouldn't be surprised if they can lob a decent payload towards Mars, too, but without in-orbit refueling or being able to land on unimproved Martian surfaces, they're probably not going to be the main choice for cargo to the surface.

Offline Lars-J

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Re: Relativity Space - Terran R
« Reply #22 on: 06/08/2021 04:44 pm »
They are either serious about this, or they are fluffing up their fully reusable design as an added incentive for someone to buy them. (Now we have 3d printed rockets AND a reusable LV design)

I just can't decide with Terran. When will they actually launch something?

Offline edzieba

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Re: Relativity Space - Terran R
« Reply #23 on: 06/08/2021 04:48 pm »
The flaw in their reasoning may be in underestimating the number of prototypes they will have to build and test to arrive at a minimum viable product, which could easily make the costs of 3D printing prohibitive in development.  Even if in theory the cost of an operational reusable fleet would amortize quickly, that is only hypothetical if they can't get to the operational technology.

It's worth noting that they're trying to simultaneously:

* Scale the industrial capabilities of 3D printing beyond current states of the art, and...

* Create a fully-reusable orbital rocket, which even SpaceX has not yet done, on the scale of Falcon 9, which SpaceX gave up trying to do and couldn't find sufficient economic justifications to keep pursuing.
An advantage Relativity has is they can potentially pivot production even faster than SpaceX. Launch the first Terran R, find out that you could really do with adding half a metre to the diameter of the first stage and shortening it a bit, moving the strakes a few degrees around the hull, routing some extra RCS plumbing to the top for a faster flip, the interstage was overbuilt for the loads experienced and can lose 50kg, etc? Next one out of the printer can do that, no retooling required.

Offline Davidthefat

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Re: Relativity Space - Terran R
« Reply #24 on: 06/08/2021 05:25 pm »
The flaw in their reasoning may be in underestimating the number of prototypes they will have to build and test to arrive at a minimum viable product, which could easily make the costs of 3D printing prohibitive in development.  Even if in theory the cost of an operational reusable fleet would amortize quickly, that is only hypothetical if they can't get to the operational technology.

It's worth noting that they're trying to simultaneously:

* Scale the industrial capabilities of 3D printing beyond current states of the art, and...

* Create a fully-reusable orbital rocket, which even SpaceX has not yet done, on the scale of Falcon 9, which SpaceX gave up trying to do and couldn't find sufficient economic justifications to keep pursuing.
An advantage Relativity has is they can potentially pivot production even faster than SpaceX. Launch the first Terran R, find out that you could really do with adding half a metre to the diameter of the first stage and shortening it a bit, moving the strakes a few degrees around the hull, routing some extra RCS plumbing to the top for a faster flip, the interstage was overbuilt for the loads experienced and can lose 50kg, etc? Next one out of the printer can do that, no retooling required.

What about launch vehicle handling fixtures and launcher strong back, etc.? It's not just about the launch vehicle, but all the supporting hardware that goes with it.
« Last Edit: 06/08/2021 06:03 pm by Davidthefat »

Offline jongoff

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Re: Relativity Space - Terran R
« Reply #25 on: 06/08/2021 05:26 pm »
Impressive to hear that they raised another $650M. That gives them about as much money as Elon had to develop Falcon 9 and then Falcon 9 reuse. They're pursuing something more ambitious, but they are also hiring in a labor pool that includes a lot of SpaceX alumni, so they won't necessarily have to be reinventing everything from scratch.

Having the resources to do a TSTO RLV and actually doing it are two different things (ask Kistler, who beat them to planning a full RLV by two decades), but I'm glad someone is going after the mini-Starship capability. Even if it only ends up being 10mT to orbit instead of the full 20mT, that would still be pretty darned useful.

I always felt that Starship was a bet on nobody else seriously trying to do a more reasonable sized full-RLV. Hopefully Relativity let's us test my hypothesis.

~Jon

Offline Craftyatom

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Re: Relativity Space - Terran R
« Reply #26 on: 06/08/2021 05:33 pm »
Quote
It sounds like Relativity is one of those other companies the Pentagon talked to about the Rocket Cargo program:

CEO Tim Ellis: "Point-to-point space transportation is an interesting market that we're looking at" with Terran R. https://www.cnbc.com/2021/06/08/relativity-space-raises-650-million-for-3d-printed-spacex-competitor.html

Current fully-reusable rocket developments are not optimized for P2P cargo operations, let alone military logistics.  The DoD so far seems content to accept that, since the development is already in progress, but if I know the U.S. military, eventually they'll want a new purpose-built design.  "Let's pay some money for an extant capability" quickly becomes "let's pay lots of money to upgrade this capability to meet all of our requirements".

Relativity, being much earlier in the development process, more in need of cash, and theoretically more able to shift course quickly due to their manufacturing processes, might take the bait and offer to modify their design to better suit the military's needs.  This has, historically, not been a great idea, but it could be seen as a good way to bolster development.
All aboard the HSF hype train!  Choo Choo!

Offline su27k

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Re: Relativity Space - Terran R
« Reply #27 on: 06/08/2021 06:12 pm »
I always felt that Starship was a bet on nobody else seriously trying to do a more reasonable sized full-RLV. Hopefully Relativity let's us test my hypothesis.

At the risk of going off topic: It's strange that this hypothesis is still being held after Starship won a $2.9B contract with NASA, which validated SpaceX's choice of developing Starship instead of a "reasonable sized" full RLV.

And if SpaceX had gone with a "reasonable sized" full RLV, they would now have to compete head to head with Neutron and Terran R, without any advantages, I fail to see how this would be better for them. Starship allows SpaceX to open new market instead of facing increasing competition in the medium lift market. I wrote about this 3 months ago, before the HLS award:

It's not about Neutron vs F9 or Starship, it's about New Glenn vs Vulcan vs Neutron vs Terran R vs Firefly Beta vs some more medium lift that will be announced soon from other smallsat launcher companies.

Basically medium lift market will become the red ocean, and Starship is SpaceX's ticket out of here and go to blue ocean: 10kt to 100kt constellation, NASA BLEO HSF, DoD constellations, plus all the speculative stuff like space tourism, E2E, space mining, cislunar industrialization, etc, which nobody else can touch.
« Last Edit: 06/08/2021 06:24 pm by su27k »

Offline soyuzu

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Re: Relativity Space - Terran R
« Reply #28 on: 06/08/2021 06:23 pm »
I always felt that Starship was a bet on nobody else seriously trying to do a more reasonable sized full-RLV. Hopefully Relativity let's us test my hypothesis.

~Jon

I feel like it is the opposite, SpaceX’s decision of switching to stainless and big-dumb-booster like manufacturing clearly suggests they expect competitors come up with either more optimized partially RLV than F9 or a fully reusable one, and come to the conclusion that simply fully reuse an expensive vehicle is not competitive enough, the vehicle itself should be cheaper than other ELV.

Offline edzieba

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Re: Relativity Space - Terran R
« Reply #29 on: 06/08/2021 06:23 pm »
What about launch vehicle handling fixtures and launcher strong back, etc.? It's not just about the launch vehicle, but all the supporting hardware that goes with it.
What about handling and support hardware? If you can print a rocket body, you can print jigs and other handling hardware.

Offline TrevorMonty

Re: Relativity Space - Terran R
« Reply #30 on: 06/08/2021 06:26 pm »
While Teran R is good idea, I hope its not at cost of Terran 1 program. Relativity needs to show they are orbital launch company that can deliver. Revenue stream from Terran 1 should also keep investors happy.

If Terran R starts with expendable US, its not waste of time as it would be useful for missions that require more than 20t and BLEO missions.



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Re: Relativity Space - Terran R
« Reply #31 on: 06/08/2021 06:39 pm »
While Teran R is good idea, I hope its not at cost of Terran 1 program. Relativity needs to show they are orbital launch company that can deliver. Revenue stream from Terran 1 should also keep investors happy.

If Terran R starts with expendable US, its not waste of time as it would be useful for missions that require more than 20t and BLEO missions.

Michael Sheetz's article on the new developments still says that "Relativity’s Terran 1 rocket...is on track to launch for the first time by the end of this year." So it doesn't sound like they're cancelling or delaying that. What's interesting is they've had "end of 2021" as the Terran 1 launch date for quite a while now...it's slipped a lot less than most people expected. Admittedly, that's aided by it still being six months in the future, but it feels like we've seen less slippage from Relativity than from the other companies looking to launch for the first time this year.

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Re: Relativity Space - Terran R
« Reply #32 on: 06/08/2021 06:50 pm »
I always felt that Starship was a bet on nobody else seriously trying to do a more reasonable sized full-RLV. Hopefully Relativity let's us test my hypothesis.

At the risk of going off topic: It's strange that this hypothesis is still being held after Starship won a $2.9B contract with NASA, which validated SpaceX's choice of developing Starship instead of a "reasonable sized" full RLV.

And if SpaceX had gone with a "reasonable sized" full RLV, they would now have to compete head to head with Neutron and Terran R, without any advantages, I fail to see how this would be better for them. Starship allows SpaceX to open new market instead of facing increasing competition in the medium lift market. I wrote about this 3 months ago, before the HLS award:

It's not about Neutron vs F9 or Starship, it's about New Glenn vs Vulcan vs Neutron vs Terran R vs Firefly Beta vs some more medium lift that will be announced soon from other smallsat launcher companies.

Basically medium lift market will become the red ocean, and Starship is SpaceX's ticket out of here and go to blue ocean: 10kt to 100kt constellation, NASA BLEO HSF, DoD constellations, plus all the speculative stuff like space tourism, E2E, space mining, cislunar industrialization, etc, which nobody else can touch.

The theoretical disadvantage of Starship vs. Neutron and Terran R is if the latter can get lower per-launch costs, and also there's insufficient demand for bulk cargo and/or payloads which require super-heavy lift to keep Starship busy. Of course, that requires Neutron and Terran R undercut Starship per-launch (which certain people in this forum think is theoretically impossible), and of course SpaceX is going to do everything they can to grow the market for huge payloads which only Starship can launch (or at least, where one Starship launch can replace multiple other launches).

Offline GalacticIntruder

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Re: Relativity Space - Terran R
« Reply #33 on: 06/08/2021 07:00 pm »
RS says they are looking to markets in the future, which we know SpaceX wants to be vastly cheaper than today. Crazy low launch costs. Others are looking at SpaceX today to compete with 40-60mil per launch. SpaceX can charge far less today if they had to, and can undercut anyone if only price mattered. It is still hard to see how anyone can compete on price with F9 or Starship. RS seems like they have plan to be at least in the game.

"And now the Sun will fade, All we are is all we made." Breaking Benjamin

Offline Joseph Peterson

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Re: Relativity Space - Terran R
« Reply #34 on: 06/08/2021 08:18 pm »
I am curious about learning more about how a reusable upper stage with only a single vacuum engine will be recovered. 

Online jstrotha0975

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Re: Relativity Space - Terran R
« Reply #35 on: 06/08/2021 08:25 pm »
I'm really excited about space for the first time in my life. There's a new space race to see who can replace Falcon 9 when it's retired. Possibly for second place behind SpaceX if BO doesn't speed things up. If this doesn't light a fire under Jeff's arse I don't know what will.

Re: Relativity Space - Terran R
« Reply #36 on: 06/08/2021 08:50 pm »


So... It's a nice 3D model of a mini Starship. That's it? That's all they've got? There wasn't even a single new number in there. They even did the age old marketing "inspired by nature" thing!

Listen guys, I love the idea of a smaller scale Starship, and 3D printing certainly lends itself to Starship-esque rapid prototyping, but let's not get too excided just yet. This is just the modern equivalent of that 60/70s aerospace concept art we all love. Made by artists, not engineers.
Wait, ∆V? This site will accept the ∆ symbol? How many times have I written out the word "delta" for no reason?

Online trimeta

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Re: Relativity Space - Terran R
« Reply #37 on: 06/08/2021 09:09 pm »
So... It's a nice 3D model of a mini Starship. That's it? That's all they've got? There wasn't even a single new number in there. They even did the age old marketing "inspired by nature" thing!

Listen guys, I love the idea of a smaller scale Starship, and 3D printing certainly lends itself to Starship-esque rapid prototyping, but let's not get too excided just yet. This is just the modern equivalent of that 60/70s aerospace concept art we all love. Made by artists, not engineers.

Compared to what we knew previously (which was just "fully reusable, 20+ metric tons payload"), there's quite a lot of new numbers: 216 feet tall, 16 feet wide, 7 Aeon R engines on the first stage, each Aeon R has 302,000 pounds of thrust. Now, these may or may not be meaningful (especially with Relativity, which can pivot at any time without worrying about fixed infrastructure), but these are specific claims we didn't have before.

Offline Cheapchips

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Re: Relativity Space - Terran R
« Reply #38 on: 06/08/2021 09:31 pm »
No legs shown on the booster or 2nd stage.  Presumably they'll be going for a booster catch too?  That'd make their barge rather beefy though?


Online trimeta

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Re: Relativity Space - Terran R
« Reply #39 on: 06/08/2021 09:52 pm »
No legs shown on the booster or 2nd stage.  Presumably they'll be going for a booster catch too?  That'd make their barge rather beefy though?

I trust this rendering only slightly more than I trusted the early nine-meter BFR renderings. Especially since Relativity can iterate on things quite rapidly.

 

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