Launch of the Missile
WASHINGTON, D.C. — SpinLaunch, a firm building an alternative launch system that fires supersonic payloads from a ground-based centrifuge, has successfully launched its first projectile from a scale model of their accelerator.
The test was held on Oct. 22 at Spaceport America in New Mexico, where the business built a 33-meter-diameter prototype of their accelerator. That accelerator spun up a three-meter-long projectile and launched it into the sky at great speeds.
In an interview, Jonathan Yaney, CEO of SpinLaunch, remarked, “This was the first time we put all the parts together.” “This is a watershed moment for us.”
According to him, the centrifuge was operating at 20% of its full power. He wouldn’t go into specifics regarding the projectile’s trajectory, but said it was supersonic and went to altitudes of “tens of thousands of feet.” The projectile was instrumented and collected data, but it lacked active controls and instead flew in a ballistic path.
Planning more Tests
Over the next six months, SpinLaunch plans to conduct 30 suborbital system tests. “We’ll be placing additional components and subsystems of our orbital launch vehicle into this launch system, which will allow us to evaluate concepts and attempt new things,” Yaney added.
He stated the spaceport and the state government of New Mexico were “very supportive” of their efforts. The majority of SpinLaunch’s 200 workers are situated in New Mexico, with the remainder based in the company’s Long Beach, California headquarters.
The business has been seeking coastal areas for a larger version of the accelerator, which will be needed for orbital launches and will be around 100 meters across. “We’re nearing the end of our negotiations on our launch site,” Yaney said, adding that an announcement would be made “shortly.”
The system’s design will be completed this year, and construction will begin the next year. According to him, this would position the business to undertake orbital missions around 2025.
Learning about potentials
The business has also been putting spacecraft components through their paces in the accelerator’s high-g environment. “Only few people have designed electronic and mechanical devices for use in a high-g centripetal situation, “it’s a one-of-a-kind environment,” he explained.
According to SpinLaunch, the technology will be less expensive per kilogram than current “incumbent large-scale launch vehicles,” he claimed. “It will also be 10 to 20 times cheaper than the new compact launch systems.”
Last month, he described seeing the system in action for the first time as “surreal.” “There’s a wonderful sense of accomplishment, almost disbelief and wonder that we created something that the world had never seen before, this whole new technology.”