Aerospace manufacturer Relativity Space has announced it is to build an autonomous rocket factory at facilities owned by NASA.
With an incentive package from the Mississippi Development Authority, the company will utilise and expand existing infrastructure at Stennis Space Center in Hancock County, Mississippi for the purposes of creating a robotic 3D printing rocket factory and test facilities.
“We are excited to partner with NASA and the Mississippi Development Authority to bring our patented 3D printing rocket platform to Hancock County,” said Jordan Noone, cofounder and CTO of Relativity. “We believe this groundbreaking technology is the future of aerospace manufacturing, and we look forward to bringing this innovation to the Gulf Coast.”
Beginning with a nine year lease, the company will have access to 220,000 square feet of interior space as well as an 80 foot tall bay, bridge cranes and industrial infrastructure. Relativity said it would create a total of 200 jobs and invest $59mn in the state of Mississippi.
“This agreement demonstrates again NASA’s commitment to work with our industry partners to expand commercial access to low-Earth orbit. This helps NASA maintain focus on the ambitious Artemis program that will land the first female and the next male on the south pole of the moon by 2024. Relativity is a valuable member of the Stennis federal city and we look forward to building on our already successful partnership. This is a significant expansion of their presence at Stennis and we appreciate their confidence in making south Mississippi an integral part of their future,” said Dr. Rick Gilbrech, Director, Stennis Space Center.
The facility is part of the company’s efforts to disrupt the traditional manufacturing of rockets, using 3D printing and autonomous robots to bring down the construction time from years to days. Relativity’s first orbital test launch is planned for 2020, with the technology entering commercial service in 2021.