The funding rounds are described in two documents filed in May and this month with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The first filing reports that $1.1 million in equity was sold to investors. The second filing serves as a new notice of $8.4 million in equity sold, out of a $9.6 million offering.
The filings indicate that Relativity Space is based in Seattle, but in response to an email inquiry, the company declined to say anything further about its location, its business plan or its investors. “We are entirely in stealth mode and will comment more when we are ready,” the company said.
The venture’s president and CEO is Tim Ellis, a former engineer at Blue Origin, the company that Amazon billionaire Jeff Bezos founded in Kent, Wash. Based on Facebook postings, Ellis was involved in the initial development of Blue Origin’s BE-4 rocket engine, which is slated to be used on United Launch Alliance’s next-generation rocket as well as Blue Origin’s yet-to-be-built orbital launch vehicle.
Ellis’ Facebook page and LinkedIn page suggest that he’s currently based in the Los Angeles area.
Relativity Space’s chief technology officer is Jordan Noone. His LinkedIn page indicates that he was a propulsion development engineer at SpaceX’s production facility in Hawthorne, Calif., until the end of last year – and that he’s still in the Los Angeles area. SpaceX, which was founded by dot-com billionaire Elon Musk, launched an uncrewed Dragon cargo spaceship to the International Space Station just last night.
Noone interned at Blue Origin in 2013, while Ellis was there. Both Ellis and Noone worked at the University of Southern California’s Rocket Propulsion Laboratory in the 2010-2013 time frame, which is yet another connection in their career timelines.
Rocketeers have been taking advantage of rapidly rising manufacturing technologies such as lightweight composites and 3-D printing.
In the Seattle area, for instance, 3-D printing (also known as additive manufacturing) has become part of the production process at Blue Origin as well as Planetary Resources and Spaceflight Industries. In the future, robotics could accelerate rocket manufacturing, as it does today for automakers and airplane manufacturers.
Advanced manufacturing technologies appear to be Relativity Space’s focus.
On the venture’s bare-bones website, Relativity Space says that the current timeline for space exploration is “long, patient and humbled,” and that Relativity’s founders dream of something better.
“If there is one truth in our world, it is that everything evolves – it is time that rocket launchers do too,” the company says.
And for what it’s worth, the company is looking for a design engineer and a production engineer.