Co-founders Jordan Noone and Tim Ellis are both graduates from USC’s aerospace engineering program and have dreamed of sending a rocket to Mars. They founded Relativity Space to fulfill this dream in 2016, after both having worked in the aerospace industry after graduation.
Relativity Space is an aerospace manufacturing company that aims to slash production times in rocket fabrication. They have created some of the largest 3-D metal printers in the world that are able to craft highly complex parts at a fraction of the time it would take using traditional methods. This allows for quick adjustments if a new part is needed or an adjustment is made, compared to the way rockets have been produced for the last 60 years.
Some people believe that even if the company stopped making rockets, their advancements in 3-D printing alone would make them a success, but Tim and Jordan are driven by their goal of getting to Mars above anything else.
The company has already produced some of the modules that will be a part of their first rocket, Terran 1. NASA has allowed Relativity Space to test at the Stennis Space Center in Mississippi as well as Cape Canaveral in Florida.
Relativity Space just this week raised $140 million in Series C funding, led by Tribe Capital and Bond Capital, with a few celebrities tagging along. Mark Cuban and Jared Leto are both investors and cite their belief in the growth potential of the industry as well as the power of Relativity Space’s proprietary technology.
With this influx of cash from the funding round, they plan to build Stargate, a factory with the capacity to produce their first fully-functioning rocket using their massive 3-D printers.
As of now, they are concentrating on launching satellites into earth’s orbit and growing their company through these types of launches. Currently, they have singed four large contracts for lower-earth orbit satellites launches that plan to be in space within a few years.
Although SpaceX has been operating for longer and has rockets with 10x the payload, Relativity Space is growing at a disruptive pace that will be felt by all other aerospace manufacturers in the coming years.