Relativity Space Completes Mission Duty Cycle Test for Aeon 1 Rocket Engine
Relativity Space recently completed a full-duration Mission Duty Cycle test of its Aeon 1 rocket engine. The company shared a Youtube video of the test at NASA‘s Stennis Space Center in Mississippi on Monday, reporting the integrated Aeon 1 rocket engine ran at full power for 187 seconds. This meets the full duration required for launch.
The company said the Mission Duty Cycle test is a pinnacle engine development milestone as it proves that all key engine components including turbopumps, injector, chamber, igniters, etc. can operate in a flight-like configuration.
This milestone was achieved 56 days after first integrated engine testing. “The most insane drive to a propulsion development milestone I’ve ever seen. Awesome job by our entire Relativity Space team,” Co-founder and CEO Tim Ellis tweeted after the test.
The Aeon 1 rocket engine is part of Relativity’s Terran 1 smallsat launch vehicle, and it is being developed with 3D printing technology. Relativity is targeting 2021 for the rocket’s first flight.
Relativity Space has a number of launch contracts already signed, and recently received a contract to launch Lockheed Martin’s in-orbit refueling demonstration in 2023 as part of participation in the NASA Tipping Point contract.