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NASA Will Soon Be Catapulting Objects into Space with Spinlaunch!

NASA Will Soon Be Catapulting Objects into Space with Spinlaunch!

The Mass Accelerator built by Spinlaunch.
The Mass Accelerator built by Spinlaunch.

Soon Nasa could be catapulting payloads into space using a novel launch system with aims on dramatically improving space accessibility.

California-based startup SpinLaunch has partnered with Nasa to develop a ‘Suborbital Accelerator Launch System’, with the hope of performing the first orbital test flight in 2025.

The launcher works by rotating a carbon fibre arm at speeds of up to 8,000 kilometres per hour (5,000 mph) within a 91-metre diameter steel vacuum chamber. Really futuristic stuff by the looks of it!

A breakdown of the Spinlaunch Catapult.
A breakdown of the Spinlaunch Catapult.

This concept is known as a mass accelerator, a kinetic energy space launch system that is an alternative to chemical rockets.

Spinlaunch has conducted their first test launch of its Suborbital Accelerator which you can watch in the video posted below.

The success of the suborbital test was a crucial stepping stone towards the creation of the company’s Orbital Launch System, which they hope will conduct regular payload launches into space.

With this first test under its belt, SpinLaunch will be moving ahead with the development of its full-scale accelerator, which will measure 100 meters (328 ft) in diameter and be capable of launching payloads in the 20 to 200 kg range (44 to 440 lbs).

The Bullet shaped payload being loaded onto the catapult.
The Bullet shaped payload being loaded onto the catapult.

Possible payloads include satellites, space-based solar arrays, and electric propulsion modules to name just a few of it’s possible uses.

Size Comparison of the spinlaunch catapult to the Statue of Liberty.
Size Comparison of the catapult to the Statue of Liberty!

The company has tested its high-g reaction wheels – which included a 12m (~40 foot) variant – with multiple types of payload and reported that even


unmodified smartphones, action cameras, and telescope lenses have survived without damage.”

The hypersonic speed sends a launch vehicle which resembles a bullet and containing a satellite into the sky, allowing it to reach orbit much quicker than conventional rockets.

Once above the stratosphere, the payload deploys a small amount of propulsion to provide the final push to reach the required position for orbit.

Watch the proposed launch sequence in the video below! It’s an amazing watch if you enjoy futuristic technology!

SpinLaunch claims the system requires no fundamental advances in material science or emerging technologies, and can be built using existing industrial hardware and commonly available materials.

If successful, it would significantly reduce the cost of delivering payloads into orbit.

“What started as an innovative idea to make space more accessible has materialised into a technically mature and game-changing approach to launch.”

Jonathan Yaney, founder and CEO of SpinLaunch.

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NASA Will Soon Be Catapulting Objects into Space with Spinlaunch!

Thoughts?