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Two new companies join SpaceX in race to Mars

Two new competitors challenge SpaceX in race to Mars

Relativity Space and Impulse Space are the two companies that are challenging SpaceX in the race to reach Mars. As Arstechnica notes, Relativity Space has never launched a rocket before, while Impulse Space thrusters have never been to space.

Relativity was founded in 2015 and has raised $1 billion in funding. It aims to test a small rocket later in 2022 and has named it Terran 1. The company is nothing if not audacious because it also plans to 3D print most of its space vehicles.

Additionally, it is working on a Terran R rocket that is not just reusable, like SpaceX’s Falcon, but also more powerful than its Falcon 9. It says that by 2024, the rocket should be ready to launch and fly to Mars later in the year.

Meanwhile, Impulse Space was founded in 2021 by Tom Mueller, the first SpaceX employee who led its propulsion department in its early days. He designed the Falcon 9 engines and those for the Falcon Heavy and Dragon vehicles.

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In fact, despite being new, the company already has a solution for launching its rockets, and it’s only working on creating non-toxic, low-cost thrusters.

Speaking with Ars, Mueller claimed: “This is a whole new era of spaceflight, and we want to be positioned to provide reliable, low-cost, in-space propulsion. We want to do it all—orbital, lunar, interplanetary.”

The two companies are working together to launch a Mars Cruise Vehicle and have the expertise of another SpaceX former engineer, Zach Dunn. Of course, the companies understand the challenge they face and the time constraint they created themselves is also unfair. Yet, they embrace it.

Relativity Space CEO Tim Ellis said, “We’re big fans of SpaceX and Starship, but there’s got to be more than one company working at this. I want to be the second company that steps forward and says this is important. Hopefully there are many more.”

The idea is that after funding the first mission by themselves, NASA and other private companies may be interested in contracting them to send their payloads to Mars.

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Onwuasoanya Obinna

A reader of books and stringer of words. Passionate about Science and Tech. When not writing or reading he is surfing the web and Tweeting.