Relativity's 3D printer. Photo: Relativity Space

Relativity Space, a venture-backed rocket company, just raised $140 million to fund its plan to 3D print its rockets.

Why it matters: The company is working to break into an increasingly crowded launch industry by sending relatively small satellites to orbit. This funding round puts Relativity on track to launch its first rocket — called Terran 1 — by 2021.

The state of play: 5 new investors and a number of previous funders are now backing the company, which has so far announced a handful of commercial customers for rides to space aboard Terran-1.

  • Relativity hopes to be able to 3D print rockets in 60 days and tailor them to the specific needs of their small and medium satellite customers.

But, but, but: While the funding round is expected to help Relativity get up and running, the long-term sustainability for small satellite launchers is still very much an open question.

  • Dozens of companies are still working to get their rockets flying, and it's not yet clear which companies will end up coming out ahead in the burgeoning industry.
  • "The business plans of a lot of these companies launching satellites is untested and is largely driven by venture funding, which is typically focused on high-risk and high-reward opportunities," Manny Shar, head of analytics for Bryce Space and Technology, told Axios via email.
  • "The potential for failure is significant, while the potential for success is largely unproven."

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A demonstrator holds up a sign of Breonna Taylor during a protest in Louisville, Kentucky. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

The Louisville police chief declared in a memo obtained by news outlets a "state of emergency" for the department on Monday to prepare for Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron's expected announcement on the Breonna Taylor case.

Of note: Louisville has witnessed more than 115 days of protests over the police killing of Taylor, an unarmed Black woman, with calls for all the officers involved to be charged.

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Sen. Cory Gardner on vacant Supreme Court seat: "I will vote to confirm"

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) will vote to confirm President Trump's nominee to replace the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, he announced in a statement Monday.

Why it matters: The development is a win for President Trump and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.). It should mean Republicans are all but assured to have enough support to hold hearings for Trump's potential nominee.

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