Relativity raises $140M for 3D-printed rockets

Relativity Space factory
Relativity Space co-founders Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone check out a fully 3D-printed rocket segment at the company’s L.A. headquarters. (Relativity Space Photo via Business Wire)

Four years after it was founded in Seattle, Relativity Space has landed its biggest infusion of capital to date — and says the $140 million investment will fully fund its drive to launch the world’s first all-3D-printed rocket into orbit and enter commercial service in 2021.

The company, now based in Los Angeles, was founded by two rocket engineers with connections to Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin space venture: CEO Tim Ellis, who worked on propulsion development and 3-D printing at Blue Origin’s headquarters in Kent, Wash.; and chief technology officer Jordan Noone, who was a Blue Origin intern and went on to work at SpaceX as a propulsion development engineer.

The newly announced $140 million Series C funding round was led by Bond and Tribe Capital. The new investors include a few well-known personalities from the worlds of technology and entertainment, including former Zillow CEO Spencer Rascoff, former Disney President Michael Ovitz and actor Jared Leto (who played a high-tech villain in “Blade Runner 2049″).

Others in on the round include new investors Lee Fixel and Republic Labs, plus current investors Playground Global, Y Combinator, Social Capital and Mark Cuban.

“Relativity was founded with the long-term vision of 3-D printing the first rocket made on Mars and expanding the possibilities for human experience in our lifetime,” Ellis said in a news release. With the close of our Series C funding, we are now one step closer to that vision by being fully funded to launch Terran 1 to orbit as the world’s first entirely 3D printed rocket.”

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By Alan Boyle

Mastermind of Cosmic Log, contributing editor at GeekWire, author of "The Case for Pluto: How a Little Planet Made a Big Difference," president of the Council for the Advancement of Science Writing. Check out "About Alan Boyle" for more fun facts.

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