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AI Robots Are Being Trained to 3D Print Rockets

3D printing has really taken off in the past few years. What started off small scale is now expanding to being able to print rockets. Not just parts - entire rockets. That's what the folks over at Relativity Space have been working on, and they may just revolutionize the rocket industry - both on Earth and in space. If things go well, the startup is hoping that their AI will be able to oversee the building of rockets on Mars. Life is starting to sound a lot like science fiction...

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  • picture large metal 3d printer relativity space
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    Via Wired

    Relativity Space is one of many startups located in California. Created Tim Ellis and Jordan Noone, the startup has four of the world's largest metal 3D printers in the world, and just received a $140 million grant to help it reach the ultimate dream: being the first company to launch a completely 3D printed rocket into space. 



  • picture 3d printed metal rocket part relativity spaces
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    Via Wired

    Other rocket-building companies like SpaceX already use 3D printing to make parts of their rockets - but Relativity Space is aiming to build entire rockets (sans electrical cables) using 3D printers. But that's not all: the people over at Relativity Space think that their technology can also be used to 3D print rockets on Mars. 


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    Via Wired

    These are not ordinary 3D printers, by the way. Stargate, the company's proprietary printer, stands 30 feet tall with tentacle-like robotic arms protruding from the sides. The company is training an AI to be able to oversee Stargate and the other printers during the process of building a rocket, hoping that this will eventually lead to autonomous AI that can watch over rockets being built on Mars. Since Mars isn't as predictable as Earth, the AI will have to be able to adapt to uncertain environments. 



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    Via Wired

    To be able to print entire rockets, Ellis and Noone had to entirely rethink the design of rockets. They were able to reduce the separate rocket parts down from 1000 pieces to 100, making it much easier to construct a rocket from scratch. This means that it will also take much less time to build rockets, and Relativity Space boast that they can take the building time down from 6 months to 60 days. They have big ambitions, but that never stopped anyone. 


  • picture two men standing next to big rocket pieces 3d printed relativity space
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    So far, Relativity Space is still building it's first rocket, Terran 1. Let's wait to see whether this rocket lives up to its expectations, which, if it does, will make space travel cheaper and more accessible than it is now. That could mean that you and I get into space a lot sooner than anticipated. And that's exciting. 

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