OneWeb & Relativity Space Ink Deal7th Jul 2022
OneWeb and Relativity Space have put pen to paper on a deal that will see Relativity Space use Terran R, its entirely reusable 3D-printed rocket, to send the communication company’s second-gen broadband satellites to orbit from 2025.
The multi-launch agreement represents the fifth client for Terran R, OneWeb is the only customer that has been named in public. This brings the complete value for all binding launch agreements for the rocket to in excess of $1.2 billion.
Speaking about the acquisition of such high-value contracts prior to launch, Tim Ellis, the founder and CEO of Relativity, said:
“To have such large contracts signed before launching, and before even launching Terran 1, I think is really speaking to the confidence that people have in the team and in our approach.”
What is Terran R?
Terran R is a fully 3D-printed rocket that is made to serve heavy- and medium-lift markets., Terran R will have a payload capacity of 20,000 kilograms.
This is less than the Falcon 9 from SpaceX. However, Ellis pointed out that the payload capacity would be more than 30,000 kilograms if the second stage was expendable. Falcon 9 features an expandable second stage.
OneWeb partnership was not a result of the Russian sanctions
OneWeb is no longer able to use Russia’s Soyuz rockets, due to Russia’s wide-scale invasion of Ukraine. The company needed to scramble to find a different launch agreement. The business quickly signed launch deals with New Space India and SpaceX.
However, Tim Ellis has revealed that the talks between Relativity and OneWeb preceded the war.
“We were talking to them well before the Russia-Ukraine conflict erupted. This has been in the works for quite some time.”
Meeting the 2025 deadline
In order to meet the deadline of 2025, Relativity will likely carry out the first Terran R orbital flight test at the close of 2024 or at the start of 2025. This means that the OneWeb launches will be some of the first Terran R carries out for commercial customers.