Relativity Space, the Los Angeles-based 3D printed spacecraft manufacturer, is planning to establish a permanent manufacturing facility at NASA’s John C. Stennis Space Center, located in Hancock County, Mississippi. The company is investing nearly $60 million for this expansion. Relativity already owns four of its proprietary 3D printers installed at its headquarters in Los Angeles and plans to construct 12 larger units near its facilities in Mississippi. The company ultimately wants to have 24 of its printers functional. Relativity uses 3D printer for most parts that it needs to assemble a spacecraft. The company has mentioned that its technology substantially reduces the time taken for building a vehicle equipped for space travel and lowers the costs associated with the process.
Dr. Rick Gilbrech, Director, Stennis Space Center, said that the agreement fortifies NASA’s commitment to work with other partners in the industry to broaden commercial access to low-Earth orbit. Gilbrech adds that it also helps NASA stay focused on the Artemis program to land the first female on the south pole of the moon by the year 2024. The company will initially execute the construction of its own Terran1 rocket design and has attracted three customers viz., Telesat, Mu Space, and Spaceflight Industries for the launch. NASA has 220,000 square feet area at Stennis Center for the installment of larger, second-generation printers. This deal includes a nine-year lease on this 220,000 square foot complex that can also be extended for ten more years.
Relativity has negotiated with the State, through which it has gained tax incentives for its capital investments and will also be employing an additional 200 employees at the Stennis manufacturing facility. Governor Phil Bryant stated that the Mississippi Gulf Coast has a robust aerospace presence, and Relativity’s expansion at Stennis will benefit the State’s standing as a leading region in the sector.