Relativity Space’s focus on 3D printing and cloud-based software helps it weather the COVID-19 storm

Just like in almost every other industry, there’s been a rash of layoffs among newer space startups and companies amid the novel coronavirus crisis. But Relativity Space has managed to avoid layoffs — and is even hiring, despite the global pandemic. Relativity CEO and founder Tim Ellis cites the company’s focus on large-scale 3D printing…

Relativity Space’s focus on 3D printing and cloud-based software helps it weather the COVID-19 storm

Just like in almost every other industry, there’s been a rash of layoffs among newer space startups and companies amid the novel coronavirus crisis. But Relativity Space has managed to avoid layoffs — and is even hiring, despite the global pandemic. Relativity CEO and founder Tim Ellis cites the company’s focus on large-scale 3D printing and its adoption of cloud-based tools and technologies as big reasons why his startup hasn’t felt the pinch.
Because Relativity’s forthcoming launch vehicle is almost entirely made up of 3D-printed parts, from the engines to the fuselage and everything in between, the company has been able to continue producing its prototypes essentially uninterrupted. Relativity has been classified an essential business, as have most companies operating in anything related to aerospace or defense, but Ellis said that they took steps very early to address the potential threat of COVID-19 and ensure the health and safety of their staff. As early as March 9, when the disease was really first starting to show up in the U.S. and before any formal restrictions or shelter-in-place orders were in effect, Relativity was recommending that employees work from home where possible.
“We’re able to do that, partially because with our automated printing technology we were able to have very, very few people in the factory and still keep printers running,” Ellis said in an interview. “We actually even have just one person now running several printers that are still actually printing — it’s literally a single person operating, while a lot of the company has been able to make progress working from home for the last couple of we
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