Relativity Space, a Long Beach, California-based aerospace company looking to take on Elon Musk's SpaceX and Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin with the first 3D-printed rockets, has entered into a 16.5-year lease for a new 1 million-square-foot headquarters in the city. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The 93-acre facility, which was previously home to Boeing's former C-17 manufacturing plant, will have capacity for more than 2,000 employees, a metallurgical laboratory, a machine shop, direct metal laser sintering (DMLS) printers, and a mission control center.
It will also house dozens of Relativity's proprietary, artificial intelligence-driven Stargate 3D printers, which are capable of cranking out a full-size rocket in just under 60 days with over 100 times fewer parts than the average rocket.
The new headquarters is part of the city council's plan to transform 437 acres of land west of Long Beach Airport into a modern business district. Relativity plans to move into the new headquarters in January 2022.
"We want to welcome Relativity Space to Space Beach, and we couldn’t be more excited to welcome their new 1 million-square-foot headquarters to our city," Long Beach mayor Robert Garcia said. "This new HQ will bring thousands of great, good-paying jobs to Long Beach and strengthen economic growth for the entire region."
Relativity recently raised $650 million in new funding from investors including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, actor Jared Leto, Zillow Group co-founder and former CEO Spencer Rascoff, BlackRock, Centricus, Coatue, and Soroban Capital. The fresh capital brought Relativity's estimated valuation to about $4.2 billion, the second most valuable private equity space company behind SpaceX.
The company is developing two reusable rockets, the Terran 1 and the Terran R.
Relativity has a workforce of 400 employees across its Long Beach, Vandenberg, Seattle, Washington D.C., Stennis and Cape Canaveral locations, with plans to hire an additional 200 people by the end of 2021.
The expansion comes as SpaceX's Starship is shooting for its first orbital flight in July, though SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell has warned meeting that target will be "difficult."
"We are really on the cusp of flying that system, or at least attempting the first orbital flight of that system, in the very near term," Shotwell said during last week's International Space Development Conference.
Blue Origin's reusable New Shepard rocket will launch its first passengers into space on July 20. Jeff Bezos will travel on board, along with his brother Mark, a mystery auction winner who paid $28 million, and a fourth crew member who will be announced at a later date.
In addition, Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic has been given clearance by the FAA to fly passengers into space, though a timeline for the company's next flight has not been set.