SpinLaunch (almost) Launches NASA Probe into Space
While space companies such as SpaceX gradually bring their payload up to speed with a fuel-guzzling rocket, the idiosyncratic SpinLaunch wants to launch satellites into space with a centrifuge of fifty meters high.
The successful tenth test flight, including a NASA probe on board, seems to be good news in that regard.
SpinLaunch wants to make space travel greener with its remarkable technology, but above all: cheaper than its competitors. SpinLaunch’s centrifuge goes up to 10,000 g, or 10,000 times normal gravity, to give its payload enough speed to escape Earth’s gravity. As a result, computer chips weighing a few grams suddenly weigh tens of kilograms, and it was always questionable whether satellite components could withstand this.
After the most recent test flight, which took place on September 27, the company stated that commercial satellite components could withstand the violence of the launch. The capsule that went into the sky carried satellite components and measuring instruments from commercial companies and NASA. The flight data would have shown that they withstood the enormous g-forces well.
SpinLaunch isn’t ready to really launch satellites into the atmosphere yet: The Suborbital test rig at Spaceport America in New Mexico can only reach flights of up to nine kilometres high. So the latest test flight is nevertheless very good news for the company, which eventually wants to put down the even larger centrifuge Orbital actually to make it into space.