Email
Password
Remember meForgot password?
    Log in with Twitter

article imageStartup 3-D rocket maker Relativity Space adds more great talent

By Karen Graham     Aug 22, 2018 in Business
Relativity Space, the startup developing a small launch vehicle making extensive use of 3D-printing technologies, has brought on board a former SpaceX and Virgin Orbit executive to help grow the company.
The company announced on Tuesday they had brought on board a former SpaceX and Virgin Orbit executive, Tim Buzza, to help grow the company, according to Space.Com.
“He is coming in multiple times a week and actively helping us develop our launch site plans,” Tim Ellis, chief executive and co-founder of Relativity, in an interview. “He’s actively working to help us on launch sites and launch operations. He’s also helping with developing the organization and structure: how to set up the teams for success.”
Relativity Space’s Stargate 3-D printer is at work at the company’s Los Angeles factory  with a ...
Relativity Space’s Stargate 3-D printer is at work at the company’s Los Angeles factory, with a 3-D printed fuel tank sitting at left.
Relatvity Space
Buzza left Virgin Orbit in May after working there for four years. He was vice-president of launch. Before coming to Virgin Orbit, Buzza was a vice president at SpaceX, joining the company just months after its founding in 2002. And before joining SpaceX, he worked for Boeing for 14 years on advanced research and development programs.
To start, Buzza will work as an advisor at Relativity, coming in a few times a week, says Ellis. But he doesn't rule out Buzza taking a more active role in the company. “It’s probably too early to commit to anything in that way,” he said. “We’re going to continue to get to know each other. He’s pretty excited about what we’re doing and has been coming in more and more often.”
Buzza just the latest in a bunch of new talent
Relativity Space now has 32 employees at its Los Angeles headquarters and test site at NASA's Stennis Space Center in Mississippi. Buzza is the latest in a series of "pretty big hires," says Ellis.
The company now has a Director of Business Development and Sales, as well as a number of engineers who previously worked for Blue Origin, Virgin Galactic, and SpaceX. "We're growing quickly from there, but trying to keep the talent bar very high," he said.
Relativity Space takes off
Digital Journal introduced readers to Relativity Space in October 2017. The Los Angeles, California-based orbital launch company was founded in December 2015 by Jordan Noone, who serves as Executive Director at Relativity Space, Inc. and Tim Ellis, who serves as CEO.
The company's aim is to reduce the cost of launch vehicles and reduce the number of parts required to build a rocket. The company points out that fully 3D printed rockets could have as few as 1,000 parts, compared to a traditionally manufactured rocket containing over 100,000 parts.
"Intelligent automation and lightweight, compact 3D printing are fundamental technologies needed to quickly build a new society with scarce resources. Our technology builds toward our long-term goal of 3-D printing the first rocket made from Mars,” the company says on its website.
To accomplish their dream, the company started from scratch, building its own building-sized 3D printer from scratch, which they appropriately named "Stargate." The massive 3D printer, unlike traditional 3D printers, works with molten metal that is heated up by lasers.
How good is the 3-D printer?
Of course, there are always skeptics, regardless of the new ideas people have, and this applied to the company's 3-D printer. Skeptics thought that hardware made by precisely spraying hot metal into shape can’t possibly be as strong as hardware assembled using fusion welding.
Well, Quartz was given a rare look inside the process. CEO Tim Ellis says his printer has passed an industrial standard for welding called AWS D17.1 Class A, which has stringent rules for quality. ”That’s the standard you would use for fracture-critical, mission-critical parts that cannot fail,” he says.
Not only did Quartz get a look at the Stargate 3-D printer, but images of the finished product using powerful X-Rays and a microscope. The stress of sending a rocket into space faster than the speed of sound is extreme, and even the tiniest flaws can lead to a disastrous failure. So getting the vehicle right means sweating the details—down to 500 micrometers.
Metal part that Relativity printed two years ago while still developing its technology. An X-Ray sca...
Metal part that Relativity printed two years ago while still developing its technology. An X-Ray scan shows irregular formation and jagged edges:
Relativity Space
A metal part printed by Relaticity on August 17 microscopically shows no tiny fractures or pores in ...
A metal part printed by Relaticity on August 17 microscopically shows no tiny fractures or pores in the surface of the metal:
Relativity Space
More about 3D rocket, top talent, Robotics, Business, relativity space
 
Latest News
Top News