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On eve of first launch, Relativity Space seeks to join SpaceX as “disruptor”

Enlarge / Stage one of the Terran 1 rocket undergoes testing at Launch Complex-16 in Florida. (credit: Relativity Space/Trevor Mahlmann)

Relativity Space is preparing to roll its Terran 1 rocket out to the launch pad in Florida in the next few weeks, setting the stage for its debut flight.

While the rocket is modest in scope, with a capacity to loft about 1 metric ton into low-Earth orbit, the company plans to use this vehicle as a demonstrator for a much larger booster, the Terran R rocket. This ambitious rocket is intended to be a fully reusable vehicle with a payload capacity slightly larger than SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket.

“Almost from the beginning of the company I wanted to build a Falcon 9 competitor, because I really think that’s needed in the market,” said Tim Ellis, co-founder and chief executive of Relativity Space, in an interview with Ars.

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