Rocket launch system that catapulted spaceships one step closer
Bizarre rocket launch system that rotates spacecraft at high speed and then orbit around the catapults comes one step closer to reality
- SpinLaunch was established in 2014 to reduce the costs for starting small loads
- They say that the last financing round later this year will lead to a first test flight
- The system turns a ship to hypersonic speeds and catapults it into orbit around the earth
A bizarre rocket launch system that orbits high-speed spacecraft orbiting the Earth without a chemical engine has come a step closer to reality, the developers say.
SpinLaunch, a California-based space start-up, has received an additional £ 27 million ($ 35 million) in funding from investors, including Airbus, to build a new type of rocket launcher.
Instead of using propellant gases as a typical rocket launcher would, SpinLaunch hurls the vehicle into space using a new catapult technology.
The company says it will use the additional funding to conduct its first test flight later this year – something that CEO Jonathan Yaney says “changes the history of space launch.”
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The technology uses a centrifuge to store energy, which then quickly transfers the energy to a capapult that sends the payload into space
The rockets will only be able to carry small loads because they must remain light to achieve hypersonic speeds without chemical engines.
SpinLaunch says that its system will take miniature satellites for imaging, communication and scientific equipment into space.
The technology uses a centrifuge to store energy, which is quickly transferred to the catapult to send the payload into space.
The latest investment in the Californian company, launched in 2014, came as part of the B financing round.
It received £ 30 million ($ 40 million) from investors, including Google’s parent company Alphabet’s investment arm, GV, venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers and Airbus Ventures as part of the previous financing round in 2018.
The newest investors are Airbus Ventures, GV, KPCB, Catapult Ventures, Lauder Partners, John Doerr and Byers Family.
SpinLaunch says the money will help to scale up the team and bring its technology a step closer to the goal of launching payloads from 2022 onwards.
It will also expand its headquarters in California and the test facility for flights in Spaceport America in New Mexico.
“Our team at SpinLaunch greatly appreciates the continued support of this formidable syndicate of investors,” said CEO Yaney.
“They share our vision of enabling cheap and frequent launch of imaging and communication constellations that will protect our planet and humanity.”
SpinLaunch has already developed a working prototype of its launcher, but has given few details about how it works.
So far everything has been revealed that the rocket must be spun into the centrifuge at 5,000 mph before it is released.
SpinLaunch says the money will help to scale up the team and bring their technology a step closer to the goal of launching payloads from 2022
SpinLaunch is one of a number of companies that work to make it cheaper to put useful loads such as satellites and even spacecraft into orbit.
Like other private space companies, SpinLaunch hopes to be able to organize cheaper launches more often, perhaps several a week or even daily.
The company charges less than $ 500,000 per launch, according to Bloomberg.
The SpaceX property of Elon Musk has focused on developing reusable conventional rockets for launching its constellation of Starlink satellites, as well as potential manned missions to the international space station.
Those launches still cost millions of dollars every time they go up, but can have a significantly greater payload than SpinLaunch can handle.
“SpinLaunch fills this gap by offering a special high-frequency orbital launch at a much lower cost than any current” niche “launch system,” Yaney said.
“This will really be a disruptive factor for the emerging commercial space industry.”