New rocket company Relativity Space is preparing for its first-ever liftoff by testing its Terran 1 rocket at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station. A flame sighted at the launch site made its CEO confirm that the rocket was fine.
Images of flames and smoke rising from Launch Complex 16 posted by media outlet Talk of Titusville on Twitter had Relativity co-founder and CEO Tim Ellis stating the rocket as well, and the launch pad devastation was minimal.
“This grass fire was outside the rocket, from methane flare stack,” Ellis said. “The team and rocket are all safe, and minimal to no pad damage either. Mostly grass.”
Relativity’s 3D printed rocket was released from its factory in Long Beach, California, to the Space Coast the previous month while getting ready for a mission dubbed “GLHF,” as in “Good Luck, Have Fun,” which won’t be holding up any customer payloads, but will strive to prove that it can perform for future missions when it attempts to launch properly later this year. A target liftoff date has not yet been specified, but earlier company statements announced that it was targeting before the end of summer.
The company recently declared a contract to provide launch services with satellite company OneWeb, with its Terran R rocket starting in 2025, to add to OneWeb’s prevailing constellation of 648 satellites. With the agreement, Relativity stated it now retains $1.2 billion in reserved launches.