Sci-fi movies have misled us to believe that we can reach space just by taking a regular flight. However, truth be told, insanely powerful rockets that guzzle tons of fuel is required to reach low earth orbit, or it will need a lift of some form.
With 10 times more satellites to be launched over the next decade, the business of sending stuff to space can create quite an environmental impact. This is where SpinLaunch comes in.
SpinLaunch is a new space technology company that plans to put 200 kilograms (441 lbs) class satellites into low earth orbit by leveraging on the principles of centrifugal force.
SpinLaunch, if materialized, might just be the greatest innovation since rocket motors. It uses a ground-based, electric-powered kinetic launch system that is essentially a supersized centrifuge.
Within this 300 feet (91.4 meters) drum-like vacuum chamber, a high-strength carbon fiber tether with a launch vehicle attached to the end is spun up to a launch speed of about 5,000 mph (8,047 km/h).
When the launch speed is reached, an automatic sequence releases the launch vehicle, hurling it into the sky and into orbit through an exit tunnel.
I know. All this sounds all too sci-fi-ish but the truth is, SpinLaunch has, in October 2021, made its first launch and thereby, validating the technology. But that does not mean it has proven its viability.
While a green way to send stuff into space, SpinLaunch is not for human cargo since no human can within thousands of Gs. That’s right. Apparently, the tether can put as much as 10,000g which would splatter any living thing in an instant.
But the question is: can a rocket or the electronics inside it survive such unearthly gravitational force? Apparently, it can but some form of ruggedizing is required to ensure the rocket and its payload can survive the intense force.
Anyways, if realized, SpinLaunch will enable multiple launches each day and doing so at 4 times reduction in fuel required to reach orbit and 10 times reduction in cost. Most importantly, it is zero-emission.
SpinLaunch said the first customer launches using this innovative launch technology are planned for late 2024.