On March 22, Relativity Space achieved a major milestone with the successful launch of Terran 1, the first 3D-printed rocket to reach space. This groundbreaking achievement has paved the way for the development of its successor, Terran R, a next-gen reusable 3D-printed rocket. Relativity has recently released a wealth of details and information on the development of this prototype.
Relativity Space’s vision for the future of space launches
Relativity Space, based in Long Beach, California, is the first company to 3D-print rockets and build the largest metal 3D printers in the world. With over seven years of experience and momentum gathered through its Terran 1 program, Relativity has revealed plans for Terran R, a reusable, 3D-printed, medium-to-heavy lift orbital launch vehicle.
This represents a significant step towards Relativity’s mission to build humanity’s multiplanetary future. The company envisions a future where interplanetary life expands the possibilities for human experience and aims to upgrade humanity’s industrial base on Earth and on Mars. Intelligent automation and lightweight, compact 3D printing are fundamental technologies needed to quickly establish a new society with scarce resources.
The Terran R development
Terran R is a heavy-lift two-stage, 270 foot (82 meters) tall rocket with an 18 foot (5.5 meters) diameter and a 5-meter payload fairing. Designed to meet the needs of commercial companies and government institutions, this launch vehicle can send payloads into LEO, MEO, GEO orbits, and beyond. Terran R’s architecture choices enable accelerated development and the ability to deliver a rapidly scaling launch cadence for customers.
The rocket will prioritize first stage reusability and will have the capability of launching up to 23,500kg to Low Earth Orbit (LEO) or 5,500kg to a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO), both with downrange landing. In expendable configuration, it can launch up to a maximum payload of 33,500kg to LEO.
Terran R and its competitors
Relativity Space’s Terran R is a highly competitive rocket compared to other launchers such as Ariane 6, Falcon 9 and Neutron. This thanks to a maximum payload capacity of 23,500 kg (51,800 lbs) to LEO with a fully reusable first stage and 33,500 kg (73,900 lbs) to LEO in fully expendable configuration. The Terran R could potentially stand out as one of the most competitive launchers on the market.
Aeon R Engine design
Terran R’s Aeon R engines are 3D-printed, highly reusable, and use liquid oxygen and liquid methane propellants. Designed and manufactured in-house by Relativity, they feature significant advancements in additive manufacturing technology. This enables the scale required for the higher thrust-class Aeon R engine and drives part count reductions. This innovative design approach supports lowered costs and engine complexity, greater robustness, rapid iteration, and the speed and scale of production required to serve customers.
Starting in 2026, Terran R will launch from Space Launch Complex 16 at Cape Canaveral, Florida, offering payload integration configurations for clusters of constellation satellites, single large satellites, or other unique spacecraft.