Wednesday, December 8

Why use rockets when you can use kinetic energy: this is the spectacular SpinLaunch space launch system

It’s hard to think of a better name for SpinLaunch, a startup in the aerospace industry that was created in 2014 and that until now had given little or no news. They preferred to keep a low profile and work on a singular idea: that of launching space rockets thanks to kinetic energy and without (almost) the need for fuel.

The system created by SpinLaunch almost looks like a cartoon, but it has already proven that it works. Its gigantic ‘washing machine’, the so-called Suborbital Accelerator, is capable of making a rocket end up flying off at speeds of up to 8,000 km / h to place their payload in orbit without the need for traditional rockets.

Long live kinetic energy

The company has created a chamber whose interior is vacuum. In that chamber exists a shovel – which they call hypersonic anchor – that is rotating faster and faster and that the spacecraft or rocket is precisely positioned at one of its ends, but without practically using fuel in the launch phase.

In SpinLaunch they already tested their suborbital accelerator in October, but they are also preparing the creation of the orbital accelerator that will be able to put objects into orbit with four times less fuel to achieve it and with a cost that according to those responsible will be 10 times lower than that of space missions with conventional rockets.

The launch system is really amazing, and as you can see in this video consists of that kind of “washing machine” in which the rocket to be launched is placed at the end of a blade that rotates faster and faster in that vacuum chamber.


This is the moment when the rocket breaks the tunnel cover during launch.

When it reaches launch speed that rocket is ejected and actually “breaks” a launch tunnel cover that allows the vacuum to be maintained during the launch preparation phase.

The prototype created for the tests that took place in October was a scale version of what will be the final installation, which will measure about 100 meters high. The suborbital rocket in those tests measured 3 meters and was launched at “many thousands of miles per hour” according to SpinLaunch officials, who in fact indicated that they had only used 20% of actual capacity of this “suborbital accelerator”.

The launched rocket or projectile was recovered after launch, although it is unclear how they did so. In this other video you can see in more detail how this launch system works, which in fact is also designed to put rockets into orbit that if they have as much payload as a first and second stage of propulsion They are activated at an altitude of about 60 km (200,000 ft) to complete launch and launch into orbit.


Orbital Accelerator

The orbital accelerator looks slightly different, but the principle of its operation is exactly the same.

The company is expected complete about 30 test flights on your suborbital accelerator in the next eight months, but they also want to advance their orbital launch pad.

This system avoids using much of the fuel from conventional launches, which also improves payload to fuel ratio. According to SpinLaunch, its orbital vehicles will be capable of launching payloads of about 180 kg into space. It is not possible to compete here with the big space rockets, but at SpinLaunch they aim to “launch dozens a day” of these rockets.

Via | CNBC

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