NASA will introduce a suborbital accelerator that spins at a staggering 8,000 km / h.
SpinLaunch is a suborbital accelerator whose operation is based on the principle behind the shot put. In this case the weight is represented by a satellite that can be sent into orbit at an incredible speed. The innovative device was publicly tested for the first time in October 2021 at Spaceport America, New Mexico by a GoPro. With an unbelievable result!
No more rockets.
The SpinLaunch will serve to carry small satellites beyond the Earth’s atmosphere without the need to carry them with a rocket. During the first test in New Mexico, a small prototype was launched into the air hundreds of thousands of meters using only kinetic energy through the suborbital accelerator. And only 20% of the total acceleration capacity was used.
The most important aspect of the project is that this type of launch will significantly reduce costs. The use of centrifugal force, in fact, makes it possible to cut as much as 70% of the fuel required for a classic take-off. As well as for the structures necessary for a traditional launch vehicle. The energy generated by the snail is sufficient to overcome the stratosphere. The insertion and positioning in orbit takes place thanks to a small low-cost propulsive stage.
As small as strong
The test was successful and NASA decided to sign a contract to use the same launch method in the future.
SpinLaunch appears as a huge catapult, a rotating slingshot, or as a huge centrifuge with the size of the Statue of Liberty. The pitcher consists of an internal steel chamber of 91 meters in diameter, which is almost as large as a football field. Inside, a vacuum is created to minimize friction and maximize the speed of the carbon fiber arm. A launch vehicle capable of supporting the load of a satellite of up to 100 kilograms could be anchored to this. Once the right rotation speed has been reached, thanks to the electric motor placed in the center, the satellite can be launched into orbit from a special tunnel, or “chimney”.
“SpinLaunch offers a unique suborbital launch system and the recent agreement with NASA marks a key turning point as SpinLaunch shifts the focus from technological development to commercial offerings. What started as an innovative idea to make the space more accessible has materialized in a technically mature and revolutionary approach to launch.”SpinLaunch founder and CEO Jonathan Yaney said in a statement
Now the one of New Mexico is the only suborbital accelerator implant, although the company is already planning to open another one closer to the coast. It must be said, however, that it is still too small to be able to bring satellites into orbit and, therefore, one would need at least three times larger.