Is it feasible to throw a rocket from the surface? NASA to test SpinLaunch launch system

Half a year ago, SpinLaunch showed a prototype of a suborbital accelerator that “throws the rocket into the sky”. Later this year, the system will try to fly a NASA payload into the sky at 1,000mph to test whether this amazing technology is feasible.

With the advent of the new space age, more and more space startups are investing in the development of new rocket launch alternative systems. SpinLaunch, an aerospace technology development company in the United States, has developed a suborbital accelerator prototype in recent years, which is about 90 meters in diameter and looks like a turbine. A supercharger works like a washing machine.

First, the rocket is grasped by the rotating arm in the vacuum disk chamber, and then the electric centrifuge, which can generate centrifugal force thousands of times more than gravity, starts to spin the rocket wildly, accelerates to hypersonic speed, and then throws the rocket from the launch tube into the sky at a speed of 5,000mph. Finally, the rocket continued to ignite and propel in the air, sending the payload into the predetermined orbit.

SpinLaunch hopes that the new system will reduce the amount of fuel and hardware needed to launch a rocket into space (forgetting the first booster), at one-tenth the cost of a conventional rocket.

In October 2021, this 50-meter-tall suborbital accelerator prototype successfully flew for the first time, spraying a 3-meter object to tens of thousands of feet above the ground within 1 millisecond, at a speed comparable to that of traditional chemical fuel rockets.

However, as soon as the news came out, the outside world questioned whether this system had commercial value. After all, the rocket caught at the end of the carbon fiber arm would withstand more than 10,000 G forces. Whether the payload (satellite/probe) could withstand the centrifugal force test is a problem The question (astronauts don’t have to think about it at all, they will only be dumped into meat sauce when they get on this rocket), can it really be developed successfully?

NASA recently signed a contract with the company.

Under the terms of the agreement, SpinLaunch will develop and integrate NASA payloads for the suborbital accelerator system, and will launch a test flight at Spaceport America later this year and attempt recovery, albeit at a slower speed of about 1,000mph (Mach 1.3).

SpinLaunch says that the suborbital accelerator can eventually take on small launch vehicles weighing no more than 200 kilograms (but the satellites in the cabin must also be super-sturdy), and the goal is to be ready to launch a system three times larger than the prototype by 2025. The official launch of orbital flight.

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