The United States plans to test a new method of launching rockets into space using a hypersonic catapult. Since the competition in the space launch market is becoming increasingly fierce, developers and owners of various companies resort to unusual solutions.
For instance, a small private company, SpinLaunch, plans to test its revolutionary method of launching satellites into space using a gigantic centrifuge. According to available data, the first suborbital test of the system can take place later this year.
SpinLaunch is a company that develops spaceflight and mass accelerator technologies to move payloads to space. As of January 2020, the company had raised $80 million in funding.
The spacecraft launch industry is hugely competitive: new rules are introduced all the time, new technologies are developed. The fuel used earlier is no longer considered environmentally-friendly, and launch methods have also become outdated. Therefore, there is a need to create new methods that can deliver critical space vehicles into orbit at a minimal cost.
The company is currently building a large centrifuge that will allow the vehicle to accelerate to about hypersonic speed before it is “ejected.” It is assumed that the launch vehicle's length will be approximately comparable to a passenger car's size. Its capabilities should be sufficient to launch small satellites into orbit.
As for the project budget, the company intends to spend about $46 million in the next ten years to achieve the set goals. This money will be spent, among other things, on expanding the infrastructure of the cosmodrome.