SpinLaunch gets NASA task
April 7, 2022
SpinLaunch is a technology business that uses a massive centrifugal mass accelerator to launch payloads into space. Based in Long Beach, California, it has signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA.
“Through the partnership, we’ll fly a NASA payload on our Suborbital Accelerator to collect the necessary data to enable potential future commercial launch opportunities,” says a SpinLaunch statement.
“SpinLaunch is offering a unique suborbital flight and high-speed testing service, and the recent launch agreement with NASA marks a key inflection point as SpinLaunch shifts focus from technology development to commercial offerings,” the statement added.
SpinLaunch says it will manifest and fly the first NASA payload on a developmental test flight later this year and provide means for post-flight recovery of payload back to NASA. The two organisations will work jointly to analyse the data and assess the system for future flight opportunities. After full review, NASA and SpinLaunch will publish all non-proprietary launch environment information from the test flight.
“SpinLaunch is offering a unique suborbital flight and high-speed testing service, and the recent launch agreement with NASA marks a key inflection point as SpinLaunch shifts focus from technology development to commercial offerings,” said Jonathan Yaney, Founder and CEO of SpinLaunch. “What started as an innovative idea to make space more accessible has materialised into a technically mature 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.”
SpinLaunch’s Orbital Accelerator will accelerate a launch vehicle containing a satellite up to 5,000 miles per hour using a rotating carbon-fiber-arm within a 300-ft diameter steel vacuum chamber. By doing so, over 70 per cent of the fuel and structures that make up a typical rocket can be eliminated. The company leverages existing industrial hardware and commonly available materials to construct the innovative accelerator system, achieving hypersonic launch speeds without the need for any fundamental advancements in material science or usage of emerging technologies. After ascending above the stratosphere, a small, inexpensive propulsive stage provides the final required velocity for orbital insertion and positioning. Through this unique approach, SpinLaunch is providing a fundamentally new way to access space, says the company.
In October 2021, SpinLaunch’s first test flight successfully propelled a test vehicle at supersonic speeds and ended with the recovery of the reusable flight vehicle. Since then, the suborbital system has conducted regular test flights with a variety of payloads at speeds in excess of 1,000 miles per hour at Spaceport America, located in New Mexico. First orbital test launches are planned for 2025.
SpinLaunch was featured on the front page of Time Magazine’s ‘100 most Influential companies in 2022’.