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Relativity Will Launch Lockheed Martin In-Orbit Refueling Demonstration for NASA

By Annamarie Nyirady | October 29, 2020
Artist rendering of Relativity's Terran 1 rocket. Photo: Relativity Space

Artist rendering of Relativity’s Terran 1 rocket. Photo: Relativity Space

On Oct. 19, Relativity Space revealed that it will launch Lockheed Martin’s in-orbit refueling demonstration as part of participation in the NASA Tipping Point contract. This demonstration mission is expected to launch in October 2023 on Relativity’s Terran 1 rocket.

Earlier on Oct. 14, NASA revealed that 14 companies were chosen for contract awards to develop technologies for Artemis operations on the Moon, including about $260 million to a group including Lockheed MartinUnited Launch Alliance (ULA), and SpaceX to develop cryogenic fluid management. The awards have an expected combined award value of more than $370 million.

“Lockheed Martin put together a great team for their Tipping Point contract, to advance in-orbit refueling. Relativity is proud to be the launch provider for this demonstration mission, and we appreciate Lockheed Martin’s support of our disruptive 3D printing approach,” said Tim Ellis, CEO and co-founder, Relativity Space. “In addition to demonstrating Lockheed Martin’s in-orbit cryogenic fluid management capabilities, this mission will also highlight the significant advantages 3D printing brings to space launch over traditional manufacturing, including dramatically decreasing time to launch even for specialized payloads.”

Additionally, in response to tweet from Relativity revealing the news, Ellis tweeted on Oct. 19: “First publicly announced U.S. Government launch customer in NASA and first launch contract for a major defense contractor in a Lockheed Martin. Two in one!”