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Relativity's debut rocket launch proves durability, fails in space

Relativity Space's 3D-printed rocket lifted off for the first time on Wednesday, passing a key milestone to demonstrate the vehicle's in-flight strength. The rocket’s first stage, powered by nine Aeon 1 methane-fueled engines, appeared to operate as planned, passing through the region of maximum dynamic pressure known as “Max-Q” 80 seconds after liftoff with 1,242 miles per hour (1,999 km per hour). Getting through Max-Q was a major goal for this launch to demonstrate the integrity of the rocket’s 3D-printed structure. Upon reaching space, the rocket's second-stage engine appeared to briefly ignite but failed to achieve thrust, ultimately failing to reach orbit. "We gathered enough data to show that flying 3D-printed rockets is possible," Relativity Test Program Manager Arwa Tizani Kelly said on the company's live video stream.



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