Terran One About Tara and R and all the incredible work being done in relativity space We’re getting pretty close to Terran One’s first launch, so I thought it was time to finish everything to do with 3D printing.
You guys make these rockets in 3d and i’m just so interested so you know really appreciate it the latest thing i’ve seen anyway is stage the rolling out and stage two progress that other Stannis is on the way or it’s due to leave soon, so we announced that we’ve shipped phase two for our first orbital flight vehicle.
Flight one turn one which is our 3d printed rocket, the stage is actually being loaded with propellant, i think so today we’re doing it at stannis it’s already for the second stage acceptance test for the first flight vehicle The test stand is on and for today the tanking test I believe and it is a liquid oxygen liquid methane uh vehicle or liquid natural gas.
It’s pretty close to the same thing I mean liquified natural gas is a slightly less refined version it’s a lot cheaper a little bit of ethane and pentane and higher order hydrocarbons in it but very close to the same thing operationally and here’s the next few Going to test based on this tank from days to weeks.
ing work is great this was actually one of my questions later because you know I’ve seen a lot of space agencies and what’s not talking about liquefied natural gas is fuel and I knew you and We know that other vehicles like Starship are saying methane.
I was wondering if it was more refined or is it just a cheaper option, for the option of not refining it too much methane is certainly a bit more expensive because it is a higher purity you know, but it Honestly there’s a technicality.
When we talk about it we talk more about liquid methane because I think it’s easy for people to wrap their heads around, it’s like that cool sexy thing I think with natural gas Sounds a bit like rocket fuel a little less cool, but otherwise you know there are technical terms for it.
And definitions that we use internally so I’ve always been interested in your story, you know the co-founder as well as the relativity space, it’s always good to note that you’re formally educated and with There are just so many other young people out there that you know what you aspire to do.
I think it’s such a good story, what can you tell me about why you got into all of this in the first place and your path that you took to get there so definitely a long one Like the story we can tell how I found relativity, but here’s the quick version.
I basically grew up here in Texas in the States, I really dreamed of becoming a screenwriter and writing movies and getting into the arts so I was always really creative growing up like music as a kid and The film is finished, now you know that now an artist has been married.
You know what kind of our wedding is next week I have always had this passion for creativity but I was really good at maths and science I usc a . went as you mentioned to do aerospace and undergraduate and masters specifically focused on combustion dynamics and become a propulsion engineer.
So I worked on designing and testing rocket engines, first it blew up the basics as an intern, so I built turbo pump hardware from scratch turbine stacks and then the focus was on hydrostatic bearings, so I Blue Origin made the first hydrostatic bearing uh test setup.
Which made its way into the B4 engine, but then you know I was a student at USC Rocket Lab when I was interning in college. The group that became the first student in the world to launch rockets into space and so we developed and built more than two dozen rockets.
Tested them and flew them in my time in college and we put our solid propellant rocket motors on we had our own linearless carbon composite case, you know I wrote a lot of software.
One of a Kind Nights and Weekends Side Project I was really passionate about this idea of 3D printing which is the future of propulsion manufacturing and you know that of course in the setting of relativity it expanded this way beyond just propulsion components Happened.
It’s an incredible story out there and you know I’ve obviously seen a lot of b-roll footage that’s been put out there over the course of the course especially the last 12 months or two, it’s just amazing so for the stage Give the test process Are there any interruptions in the process that were unexpected or things you’ve been able to tweak.
That gives you any design changes or better performance or anything like that, I think the biggest thing we’re going to do with phase two testing is you know for sure it’s acceptance testing, so it’s the actual flight Here’s the article that we’re going to put through its paces, you know what, we’ve done the second phase test first.
So we had a prior test article, I think maybe two maybe two years ago now that we’ve done a full type engine, you know pump fed engine test block methane from a real printed tank structure with common domes With the common dome in the middle and then we also did the etogenous pressure test so that’s really the hardest part.
I would say about our architecture we are gasifying some oxygen that you tap with a post pump and then anything methane clogs up the post region channels and they are very sensitive to temperature exposure so essentially You want to put enough heat into the propellant.
It can be gasified or it can be taken to critical temperature. so that when it gets dumped back into the tank you essentially know the right kind of mass flow rate is high enough temperature to reduce the density of residue in the tank for payload performance and tune that system properly actually Quite a challenge.
And of course the helium carbon overlap submerged in oxygen tanks is a lot harder than pressure vessels like some other vehicles have done, but we think it’s really important for reusability and locks methane in particular. You know it quickly programs To my knowledge we are the only other type of venture-backed startup.
Which base that on methane as the only propellant that we’re working on right now and I think you kind of know the jump and jump in this architecture with the nine engines of the first stage we have We also use a non-T-tub based igniter, so we use the propellant itself.
Those of you know the oxygen plus fuel together to ignite the engine and this kind of architecture is just in my view a lot more scalable for what would be a highly reusable rocket with turn r and of course you Know that you don’t always have to deal with getting helium and things.
Down the track when it’s hard to get and you know it’s all yeah you know i like to drive myself with pressure we might use helium in the future for terrane r so we still There are tradeoffs uh pressure and architecture because the interesting thing is that once you are reusing the full rocket.
If you use helium you can potentially scrape the helium out of the vehicle because you’re getting it back every time so helium can be high performer and we’re still pulling it off, but Autogenous is the baseline.
So with the Terran One and more recent developments you’re out of any sort of things you tweak again anything enhances or changes the design in any way I think what’s interesting in a lot of ways , you know for anyone who can follow us who can go back and put the pieces together.
We actually changed the architecture of the bari quite a bit so you know we both increased the payload size so now it’s a lot more in orbit this is a three meter payload fairing that we’re going to develop for Turin .
It’s a huge payload volume you know we’ve changed the diameter of the vehicle from seven feet to seven and a half feet helps printing and then also the engine architecture so it was an open expansive wheel.