SpinLaunch aims to change the way it goes into orbit by launching payloads in the air at 5,000 miles per hour, and now it has a shiny new contract with NASA to showcase its capabilities later this year.
We’ve been hearing about SpinLaunch for years, but until recently, his idea of mass circulation using some kind of underground centrifuge was only lightly grounded.
It works by using a rotating arm in a large vacuum chamber, which then spins faster and faster until the vehicle it’s holding onto finally exits the exhaust pipe. In a sense, a simple idea (in fact, a giant pendulum), it is clearly not so easy to design. But a low-altitude test late last year showed they could charge at least 1,000 mph and fix that.
The system is under development, but the prospect of cutting fuel and suborbital payload mass by more than half is clearly attractive to NASA, which has signed a space act deal with SpinLaunch to test it. ,
A test rollout is scheduled for later this year, when SpinLaunch will launch a NASA payload at supersonic speed and recover it shortly. Both organizations will then study the effectiveness of the mission and evaluate its usefulness for future launches, and will publish any non-confidential results online.
I have asked SpinLaunch for more details on the project and will update this post when I get a response.