PARIS— Startup launch-service provider Relativity Space Inc. announced a binding contract with satellite fleet operator Telesat for multiple launches of Telesat’s LEO broadband satellites, Relativity and Telesat announced.
Relativity is developing a 3D-printed rocket called Terran 1, which the company said can be go from raw materials to launch-readiness in less than 60 days, with 10 times fewer parts than traditional rockets.
Relativity Chief Executive Tim Ellis said the company had been working with Telesat for some time and had previously signed an MoU. “This binding contract now involves multiple launches in Relativity’s manifest. This is not an MoU or LoI but an actual, binding contract with commitments on both sides.”
Ellis declined to specify how many Telesat LEO satellites would be carried on a single Terran 1 rocket, whose listed capacity is 900 kilograms to a 500-kilometer sun-synchronous orbit and 700 kilograms to a 1,000-kilometer SSO.
Relativity has raised $45.1 million in there financing rounds, with the latest, in March 2018, led by Playground Capital. Other investors include Y Combinator, Social Capital and Mark Cuban.
Telesat has two industrial teams — Airbus Defence and Space is one, and a combined Thales Alenia Space- Maxar/SSL is the other — completing competing design studies for Telesat LEO. Telesat has said it expected to select one of them as LEO prime contractor later this year.
Ellis said the company had not yet determined what its inaugural launch passenger would be, “ as it could complicate licensing and payload integration schedule.” Relatively plans to launch from Cape Canaveral Air Force Station’s LC-16 couple but also plans a polar-capable launch site, he said.
Telesat Chief Technology Officer Dave Wendling said the contract is part of Telesat’s plan to include New Space companies offering lower costs into the LEO ecosystem.
“Relativity is such a company with their 3D printing, use of robotics and other advances,” Wending said in a statement. “Telesat continues to establish a world class supplier team to constsrsuct, deploy and operate our global LEO network.”