'Everything That Flies Will be 3D Printed in 20 Years': Relativity's CEO On How Private Biz is Changing the Space Race

Joe Bel Bruno
Joe Bel Bruno is dot.LA's editor in chief, overseeing newsroom operations and the organization's editorial team. He joins after serving as managing editor of Variety magazine and as senior leadership in spots at the Los Angeles Times, Wall Street Journal and Associated Press. He's a veteran journalist that loves breaking big stories, living back in L.A., a good burrito and his dog Gladys — not necessarily in that order.
'Everything That Flies Will be 3D Printed in 20 Years': Relativity's CEO On How Private Biz is Changing the Space Race
Photo by Spencer Rascoff

Relativity Space co-founder Tim Ellis said Thursday that he expects that 20,000 satellites will launch in the next five years, representing a $25 billion market for the 3D rocket printer to compete in.

The company, which recently announced it is moving into a new headquarters complex in Long Beach, is currently building its first rocket, which is expected to launch next year. His goal is to make the company a strong competitor in the $350 billion space economy against bigger rivals like Space X and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin.


Ellis told an audience at the Montgomery Summit in Santa Monica that private companies are paving the way for cheaper and more efficient ways of getting satellites into orbit in an aerospace industry dominated by legacy giants like Boeing.

"We still use the same tools in aerospace that owe did sixty years ago," he said. "The aerospace industry just hasn't had a renaissance yet."

Ellis said his rockets, made using giant 3D printers, builds components with 1,000 parts in two to six months. Meanwhile, traditional rocket building uses about 100,000 parts and can take up to 48 months.

Relativity's Terran 1 rocket can be built in about 60 days, he said. The company counts Mark Cuban and Tribe Capital among its backers, and has raised $185 million in venture funding. Ellis expects the industry to flourish as manufacturing shifts away from traditional methods.

"Everything that flies will be 3D printed in 20 years," he said.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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