The Next Space Race Will Be 3D Printed

The private sector space industry took another step toward revolutionizing the way satellites are constructed and launched on Tuesday, when the U.S. and New Zealand-based company Rocket Lab unveiled a novel rocket engine that will power its Electron Rocket system. The company bills the Rutherford Engine as the first battery-powered rocket engine. Rocket Lab is positioning itself as providing the launch vehicle of choice for companies like Google's SkyBox , PlanetIQ and others who are looking to send large constellations of small, relatively low-cost satellites into space in the next decade. According to Rocket Lab CEO Peter Beck, the engine is created through 3D printing and using electric turbo-pumps.