Companies and countries are racing to become the first to land on Mars – a historic feat. And now, private space companies Impulse Space and Relativity Space have joined forces for the first commercial mission to Mars. In addition, they announced plans to send a privately developed robotic lander to the planet. Interestingly, The New York Times reported that they hope to launch it as soon as 2024 when the positions of Earth and Mars line up again.
First landing on the red planet
SpaceX’s plan to be the first to land on Mars might get outrun by Impulse Space and Relativity Space. However, the new collaboration between the two private space companies might make them the first to land on Mars.
Impulse Space, founded by Tom Mueller, its CEO and a SpaceX alum, specializes in getting payloads into and around space. On the other hand, Relativity Space specializes in producing spacecraft using 3D metal printing, AI, and autonomous robotics.
Furthermore, Impulse’s Mars Cruise Vehicle and Mars Lander and Relativity’s Terran R (an entirely 3D printed launch vehicle) will carry out the mission to land on the red planet. In addition, the launch will take place from Florida’s Cape Canaveral as early as 2024. Besides, the private space companies have an exclusive agreement to launch from there until 2029.
Mueller stated in a press release that the joint mission is a “major milestone” for both the companies and the entire space industry. “This is a monumental challenge, but one that successfully achieved will expand the possibilities for human experience in our lifetime across two planets,” said Relativity co-founder and CEO Tim Ellis.
Although starting the mission to land on Mars in 2024 sounds intriguing, it raises even more doubts. The reason is that both companies do not have a substantial record on space missions. Besides, Relativity’s Terrain R is a descendant of Terran 1, and the latter is yet to launch later this year. And, Impulse hasn’t yet tested its payloads in orbit, according to some sources. So, maybe sending a rocket to land on Mars in 2024 seems a far-stretched goal. Nonetheless, let’s give these companies the benefit of the doubt and wait and see.