Rocket launches are a thing of the past: A giant centrifuge accelerates satellites to over 8,000 kilometers per hour and throws them into space. First tests are successful (video).
Gigantic centrifuge throws satellites into space – first tests successful.
Normally, satellites are launched into space with launch vehicles. But the US startup SpinLaunch wants to launch satellites into space with a giant centrifuge instead. NASA signed a contract with SpinLaunch a few months ago.
Test with measuring instruments on board
A few days ago, SpinLaunch shot down a test object in the form of a rocket projectile (“Suborbital Accelerator Flight Test Vehicle”) as part of its tenth test flight from Spaceport America in New Mexico. It contains measuring instruments, including those from NASA and Airbus, as the company reports. During the test, take-off and flight data should be determined. Measuring instruments on board recorded, for example, the acceleration and the load from the G-forces. But other values such as temperature or humidity were also recorded. The test is said to have been successful and all equipment on board was successfully recovered – the projectile had buried itself in the soil of the New Mexico desert, as can be seen in the video:
So the projectile hasn’t reached space yet, the designers haven’t got that far yet.
That’s how it works
In this giant centrifuge, a delivery system/projectile is attached to a large carbon fiber arm in a vacuum chamber and made to rotate. As soon as the object has reached a speed of just over 8,000 kilometers per hour, it is thrown out of the construction and up through an open flap at the top. However, a rocket stage must also be fired above the stratosphere so that the projectile reaches the upper layer of the atmosphere. Nevertheless, this method should consume significantly less rocket fuel than a conventional rocket launch: there is talk of 70 percent less consumption.
The first launches into orbit are scheduled for 2025.