NASA was able to swing its satellites into space with extraordinary ‘whirl’ n ‘hurl’ launch technology later this decade.
The US space agency has signed an agreement with California launches SpinLaunch to test the latest ‘bizarre’ kinetic ‘launch system, seen as a green alternative to fuel-based launches.
It works by attaching a reusable rocket to a giant rotating arm in an electric vacuum-sealed centrifuge and rotating the speed of sound at various times.
The rocket is then released and launches into space to release loadloads such as satellites into a low-earth orbit. It can then return to Earth to reuse for further launches.
The huge launch machine, located in Spaceport America in New Mexico, measures 165 feet (50.4 meters) – slightly higher than the Statue of Liberty (150 feet, or 46 meters).
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California-based startup SpinLaunch has built an alternative rocket launch system (pictured) designed to catapult spacecraft into orbit. The system works by attaching a rocket to a giant rotating arm in a vacuum-sealed centrifuge and rotating the speed of sound at various times. It is then released and shot into space before returning to Earth
Pictured is the Suborbital Accelerator, created by California startup SpinLaunch, which measures larger than the Statue of Liberty in New York. The company wants to build an even larger version at a different US location
However, this is only a third scale version of what SpinLaunch ultimately intends to build for future launches.
HOW DOES IT WORK?
An alternative rocket launch system that catapults a space probe into orbit could one day become a reality after it was successfully tested by the California company SpinLaunch.
Here’s how the system works:
The satellite or spacecraft is loaded into the SpinLaunch suborbital accelerator inside a rocket
A vacuum-sealed centrifuge rotates the rocket several times at the speed of sound before releasing it.
The rotary arm system uses kinetic energy to launch instead of fuel in traditional rockets
4. After reaching space, the orbital launch vehicle returns to Earth to use again
According to a newly released statement, SpinLaunch will fly the first NASA cargo on a development test flight later this year, which will include post-flight recovery of the cargo back to NASA.
The two organizations will also work together to assess the so-called Suborbital Accelerator for future flight capabilities. This could include SpinLaunch’s first orbital test launches, scheduled for 2025.
“SpinLaunch offers a unique suborbital high-speed flight and test service, and the recent launch agreement with NASA marks a major turning point as SpinLaunch shifts its focus from technology development to commercial offering,” said Jonathan Yaney, founder and CEO of SpinLaunch.
‘What started as an innovative idea to make space more accessible has materialized into a technologically advanced and game-changing approach to launch.
“We look forward to announcing more partners and customers soon, and greatly appreciate NASA’s continued interest and support in SpinLaunch.”
The SpinLaunch machine will accelerate a launch vehicle with a satellite up to 5,000 miles per hour with its rotating carbon fiber arm in a 300-foot-diameter steel vacuum chamber.
By doing this, more than 70 percent of the fuel and structures that make up a typical rocket can be eliminated.
SpinLaunch hopes that its orbital car will eventually be able to carry about 440 lbs (200 kg) of cargo to orbit, which is equivalent to a number of small satellites.
The company hopes that its orbital car (pictured as a cutaway in the impression of an artist) will eventually carry about 440 lbs of cargo, equivalent to a few small satellites
In October 2021, the first test flight of SpinLaunch successfully launched a test car at supersonic speeds and ended with the repair of the car.
A 10ft long projectile was rapidly accelerated to thousands of kilometers per hour in a rotating arm before being released for launch ‘in less than a millisecond’, Yaney said CNBC after launch.
The first suborbital flight used about 20 percent of the accelerator’s full power capacity and reached a test height ‘in the tens of thousands of feet’.
Since then, the system has performed regular test flights with a variety of charges at speeds of more than 1,000 miles per hour at Spaceport America.
However, that will not be where the company’s launch system will be based in the long run. Instead, a The ‘Coastal Location’ site will ‘support dozens of launches a day’, according to Yaney.
A successful test last October included the suborbital accelerator (pictured), currently a third-scale version of what SpinLaunch ultimately aims to be
The used car did not have a rocket engine on board, but SpinLaunch plans to add one, like other internal systems, in future test flights
SpinLaunch claims that it ‘provides a fundamentally new way of accessing space’.
“SpinLaunch enables a future in which constellations of satellites and space charges can be launched with zero emissions in the most critical layers of the atmosphere,” the company says on its website.
‘In a future where large numbers of people travel to space, structures, equipment and supplies needed to support civilization in space must also be launched.
‘For tens of thousands of people to work and live in space once, millions of tonnes of infrastructure and supplies need to be launched. SpinLaunch makes sure that this can have the least possible environmental impact. ‘
The company will help meet high demand after launching constellations with low-Earth orbit of cheap small satellites for disaster monitoring, weather, national security, global communications and more.
SPINLAUNCH: EVERYTHING YOU KNOW NEED ABOUT THE ROCKET BUILDER
When was SpinLaunch founded? 2014
Who launched the company? It was founded by CEO Jonathan Yaney to ‘reintroduce space launch technology’ and launch small satellites into a low-Earth orbit.
How many employees does it have? More than 200
Where is it based? Long Beach, California
What is the purpose of the company? It wants to launch charges on rockets launched from its ‘Suborbital Accelerator’.
What is this? The Suborbital Accelerator is an odd, p-shaped machine that measures 165 feet high. It contains giant rotating arm in an electric vacuum-sealed centrifuge, which rotates a rocket at several times the speed of sound before it is released.
Why? The kinetic energy-driven technology is seen as an environmentally friendly alternative to fuel-based missiles.
Where is the Suborbital Accelerator based? Spaceport America in New Mexico, but eventually it’s working on a ‘coastal location’ site to launch its rockets.
When will it launch its first orbital launch? 2025
NASA to test SpinLaunch’s ‘whirl ‘n’ hurl’ space launch technology Source link NASA to test SpinLaunch’s ‘whirl ‘n’ hurl’ space launch technology