Relativity Space, the pioneering aerospace company, announced its latest move to bolster its presence at NASA’s Stennis Space Center. In an exciting development, the company revealed that it would be leasing a historic first stage test stand, the A-2 Test Stand, to advance the development of its groundbreaking Terran R launch vehicle.
Relativity Space has secured a lease of the A-2 Test Stand from NASA, a historic agreement that allows the company to advance the development of its Terran R launch vehicle. By rejuvenating this esteemed test stand and upgrading its capabilities, Relativity aims to accelerate its testing cadence and expedite the launch of the highly anticipated Terran R. This move reaffirms Relativity’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of aerospace technology and establishing itself as a key player in the industry.
A Historic Agreement
Under the newly signed agreement, Relativity will lease the A-2 Test Stand from NASA for a period of seven years, with an option to renew for up to ten additional years. The lease comes at a cost of $2.76 million, solidifying Relativity’s commitment to expanding its operations at the Mississippi-based Stennis Space Center. With this lease, Relativity’s total footprint at Stennis expands to over 300 acres.
A Rich History
Originally constructed in the 1960s to test Saturn V rocket engines, the A-2 Test Stand holds great historical significance. It has been utilized by NASA for several milestone tests, including the Apollo Saturn S-II stage, the Space Shuttle main engines, and most recently, the Constellation J-2X engine test programs. Now, for the first time in its history, this illustrious test stand will be employed by a commercial aerospace company.
“The A-2 Test Stand has a rich history for NASA and NASA Stennis,” remarked Rick Gilbrech, Director of NASA Stennis. “It is exciting to see this historic structure continue to provide valuable propulsion service almost 60 years later.”
Modernization and Adaptation
Having remained unused for nearly a decade, the A-2 Test Stand will undergo a revitalization process to align with Relativity’s advanced technology. The company plans to invest an undisclosed amount of capital to modernize and adapt the infrastructure. Currently configured to support thrust up to 650,000 pounds, the upgraded test stand will be capable of handling up to 3.3 million pounds of thrust.
A Step Forward in Testing Capabilities
Relativity’s lease of the A-2 Test Stand signifies a significant milestone in the development of its medium-to-heavy lift Terran R rocket. This strategic move will enable the company to augment its testing cadence and expedite the time to market for the Terran R. By leveraging the resources and capabilities of the A-2 Test Stand, Relativity aims to revolutionize the industry and redefine the future of space exploration.
Expanding Presence at Stennis
Relativity’s lease of the A-2 Test Stand adds to its already impressive presence at Stennis. The company currently holds exclusive-use, ten-year agreements for the E2 and E4 engine testing complexes. Additionally, Relativity is actively constructing the R Complex, a dedicated facility for Terran R vehicle and engine testing. The R Complex will include additional engine test stands and a full-scale stand for second stage testing, solidifying Relativity’s commitment to pushing the boundaries of aerospace technology.