Relativity Space Raises $650M for Its Recyclable Rocket

Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Relativity Space Raises $650M for Its Recyclable Rocket

Aerospace upstart Relativity Space and its CEO Tim Ellis are trying to take on SpaceX in the recyclable rocket race. The company has landed a new funding round to produce a fully reusable rocket that could launch within three years.


Long Beach-based Relativity raised a $650 Series E round June 8 to fund the development and production of its Terran R rocket, a reusable craft that will be 95% 3D-printed — including its engines — and launch by 2024, according to CEO Tim Ellis.

The new round was led by existing investors Fidelity Management & Research. WIth this round, Relativity Space has raised roughly $1.9 billion since its 2015 launch.

Ellis told dot.LA that the funding round is pivotal in helping Relativity reach its lofty goals.

"Ever since Relativity's early days in Y Combinator, we've planned to manufacture a large reusable rocket along with Terran 1 and now we're one step closer to fulfilling that vision," he said in an email.

Ellis added that the company has already sold the first multiple launch contract for Terran R, even though the rocket isn't finished yet and said "our team is excited by the progress this new funding will enable in its development."

"Over the last year, we found ourselves being asked by the market to accelerate development of our larger launch vehicle, so we knew it was time to double down on our existing plans and scale the Terran R program even faster and build production capabilities at scale sooner," said in an earlier statement.

SpaceX has been reusing rockets -- or parts of them -- since 2010. The company's Falcon 9 rocket is recyclable and has been in use since 2012, and SpaceX first successfully re-lit used rocket boosters during a test the year after. The Falcon Heavy and Starship crafts developed by SpaceX also use reusable components.

Relativity's renderings of the Terran R show a craft that is 216 feet tall and looks like something straight out of "Star Trek." The sleek, aerodynamic craft is 16 feet in diameter and capable of sending over 44,000 pounds into low Earth orbit.

The craft has a lot of firepower -- seven identical 3D-printed engines that will give the rocket over 300,000 pounds of upward thrust each.

The Terran R is the reusable counterpart to Relativity's Terran 1 rocket, which has already secured Department of Defense contracts to launch satellites by June of next year. Six private companies have signed on to launch on the rocket so far, including Iridium, Telesat, Spaceflight, mu Space, Momentus, and TriSept.

"We're focusing our energy towards the first launch of Terran 1, the world's first completely 3D printed rocket, which is the most pre-sold rocket in history and building Terran R," Ellis told dot.LA.

Relativity said that over 85% of the Terran 1 rocket is printed and is on track for a test launch this year from the company's site at Cape Canaveral, Fla. The Terran R rocket will eventually launch from the same complex.

Besides being recyclable, the biggest difference between the Terran R and the Terran 1 is that the R is capable of holding a payload 20 times bigger.

If the Terran R craft lands successfully and all parts are reusable, it could be a game-changer not only for launch contractors such as the DoD, but also other rocket manufacturing companies.

Ellis claims the company has "radically simplified" its supply chain and can build a rocket in less than two months with "over 100 times fewer parts" than a conventional rocket build.

Automated 3D printing rockets cost a fraction of what a typical rocket production line would, and SpaceX has already proven that reusable rocket parts are both feasible and cheap. With a successful model for reusable spaceflight, Relativity could gear itself up for a flurry of interested launch partners looking to reach orbit for a nominal price.

Other existing investors returned to back Relativity again, including U.K.-based asset manager Baillie Gifford, Tiger Global Capital, K5 Global, Tribe Capital, hedge fund XN, actor Jared Leto and "Shark Tank" star and entrepreneur Mark Cuban.

Spencer Rascoff, a co-founder and investor in dot.LA, contributed to Relativity Space's Series E through his L.A.-based investment firm 75 and Sunny, as well as in prior funding rounds.

New investors including Brad Buss, private equity firm Centricus and New York City-based hedge fund Coatue also joined the round.

Editor's note: This story has been updated throughout with comments from Relativity Space CEO Tim Ellis.

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Fuel Innovation: 7 Unforgettable Team Building Experiences in LA
Image Source: Discover LA

In today's competitive business landscape, team building activities have emerged as a crucial tool for fostering a positive work environment, enhancing productivity, and crucially, improving employee retention. Studies have shown that such activities help employees feel valued, with one report indicating that 93% of those who felt appreciated were more motivated at work. Importantly, team building events may improve retention rates, as employees who feel connected to their colleagues and company culture are more likely to stay long-term. With these benefits in mind, let's explore some of the most engaging and effective team building activities available in Los Angeles.

Pickleball

Image Source: Modern Luxury Angelino

Pickleball is a fantastic team bonding activity because of the easy-to-grasp rules and gentle pace make it perfect for everyone, regardless of age or fitness level. The game thrives on communication and teamwork, as players must collaborate and strategize to outplay their opponents, boosting team cohesion. Plus, the lively, fast-paced action sparks friendly competition and laughter, creating a fun and spirited atmosphere that brings everyone closer together. Los Angeles boasts numerous pickleball courts that are easy to rent if you have your own equipment. If you need additional assistance organizing your pickleball outing, there are plenty of full-service companies ready to handle every detail for you.

Resources: Pickle Pop, Corporate Pickle


Escape Room

Image Source: The Escape Game

Escape rooms are a great way to build camaraderie. They require participants to work together, combining their problem-solving skills and creativity to overcome challenges and puzzles. The immersive and time-sensitive nature of escape rooms fosters collaboration and communication. Additionally, the shared experience of tackling complex tasks and reaching a common goal helps build trust and foster positive emotions among colleagues.

Resources: The Escape Game, 60Out


Day Trip to Catalina Island

Image Source: Love Catalina

Catalina Island is a perfect day trip for a team because it provides a break from the usual work environment, allowing team members to relax and connect in a new setting. Shared experiences during the trip, such as exploring new places and participating in fun activities, help build stronger relationships and foster a sense of camaraderie. There are numerous team-building activities such as an arboreal obstacle course, an island tour, scavenger hunts and more.

Resources: Catalina Island Group Activities


Top Golf

Image Source: Topgolf

Topgolf is an excellent team building event because it provides an inclusive, relaxed atmosphere that accommodates players of all skill levels, fostering personal connections and improving team morale. The unique blend of competition and entertainment creates an ideal setting for building trust, enhancing communication, and revealing hidden skills among team members. Additionally, Topgolf offers structured team building packages with guided activities, discussion prompts, and lessons on culture, change, collaboration, and strategy, making it a versatile and effective platform for strengthening relationships and boosting overall team performance.

Resources: Topgolf El Segundo


SoFi Stadium Tour

Image Source: Discover LA

A SoFi Stadium tour offers a unique, behind-the-scenes experience of one of the world's most advanced sports venues, allowing team members to explore exclusive areas like premium suites, team locker rooms, and the player tunnel together. The tour provides a shared, memorable experience that can foster camaraderie and spark conversations among team members, regardless of their interest in sports. Additionally, the stadium's state-of-the-art features and impressive architecture can inspire creativity and innovation, while the group setting encourages interaction and collaboration, making it an engaging and enjoyable activity for teams of various sizes and backgrounds

Resources: SoFi Stadium Group Tours


Corporate Volunteering

Image Source: L.A. Works

Volunteer work serves as an excellent team building activity by uniting employees around a shared, meaningful cause, fostering a sense of purpose and collective accomplishment. It provides opportunities for team members to collaborate in new ways, often revealing hidden strengths and leadership qualities that may not be apparent in the regular work environment. Additionally, engaging in community service can boost morale, enhance the company's reputation, and instill a sense of pride among employees, leading to improved workplace relationships and increased job satisfaction.

Resources: Habitat for Humanity, L.A. Works, VolunteerMatch


Corporate Improv Sessions

Image Source: Improv for the People

A corporate improv class encourages spontaneity, creativity, and quick thinking, skills that are valuable in the workplace. It promotes active listening and collaboration, as participants must work together to create scenes and respond to unexpected situations, fostering better communication and trust among team members. Additionally, the playful and often humorous nature of improv helps break down barriers, reduces stress, and creates a shared positive experience that can improve team morale and cohesion long after the event.

Resources: Improv-LA, Groundlings, Improv for the People

🎬 Paramount and Skydance Are Back On
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Happy Friday Los Angeles! Hope you all had a fantastic Fourth!!

🔦 Spotlight

Paramount and Skydance Media have rekindled talks to merge after negotiations abruptly halted in June. The proposed deal, contingent on approval from Paramount’s board, aims to combine Paramount’s extensive media holdings—including CBS, MTV, and Nickelodeon—with Skydance’s film expertise showcased in hits like "Top Gun: Maverick." This merger signals a potential transformation in the media landscape, positioning the new entity to compete more effectively amid challenges from streaming services and the decline of traditional cable TV.

Led by Shari Redstone, Paramount’s controlling shareholder via National Amusements, the deal represents a pivot towards revitalizing Paramount’s strategic direction amidst financial struggles and shareholder concerns. The involvement of major investors like RedBird Capital Partners and David Ellison underscores the financial backing aimed at stabilizing Paramount’s operations and addressing its $14 billion debt burden. Importantly, the agreement includes provisions to protect National Amusements from potential legal challenges, addressing previous hurdles that stalled earlier negotiations.

The deal also includes a 45-day period for Paramount to explore alternative offers, highlighting continued interest from other potential buyers like Barry Diller’s IAC and media executive Edgar Bronfman Jr. This flurry of activity underscores the significant stakeholders’ interest in Paramount’s future and its potential as a key player in a rapidly evolving media industry.


🤝 Venture Deals

LA Companies

  • Sidecar Health, a startup that offers personalized health insurance plans to businesses that allow members to see any doctor and pay directly at the time of service, raised a $165M Series D led by Koch Disruptive Technologies. - learn more

LA Venture Funds


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