After a rollercoaster of delays and restarts, Long Beach-based Relativity Space scrubbed the first launch of its 3D-printed rocket, Terran 1, for the second time this week Saturday afternoon.
“Thanks for playing,” the team’s launch director said after announcing an automated abort at T-45 seconds due to a fuel pressure issue in the second stage.
The launch window for the mission dubbed, “Good Luck, Have Fun,” opened at 1 p.m. EST, but Relativity faced a series of holds—one to wait out high upper-level winds and another due to a boat being too close to the launch site, among others—and a first abort due to an issue with the stage separation automation less than one second before launch.
The team quickly assessed the rocket and determined a recycle would be possible, resetting the clock for a new liftoff time of 4 p.m. EST—the very end of Saturday’s launch window.
🧵 A quick breakdown of the reasons for our aborts during terminal counts today:
— Relativity Space (@relativityspace) March 11, 2023
Saturday’s attempt was Relativity’s second this week. On Wednesday, the mission also faced several holds. The launch was ultimately scrubbed due to an issue with the methane-liquid natural gas fuel temperature in the rocket’s second stage.
Missions being scrubbed is not uncommon, especially when it’s a company’s first, nor is it an indication that a successful flight is not imminent. NASA’s historic Artemis 1 mission was scrubbed twice before the Space Launch System—the most powerful rocket on Earth—blasted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida in November of last year.
A new launch date for the Terran 1, which is 85% 3D-printed by mass and was manufactured in Long Beach, has not yet been announced.
Editor’s note: This story has been updated with additional information on the cause for the two aborts.