To dethrone the giants of the aerospace industry, SpinLauch relies on the same weapon that David used to defeat Goliath: the slingshot. Founded in 2014, the American start-up aims to place satellites in orbit using a system similar to a catapult. This today takes the form of a rotating disc 50 meters high, composed of a central drum whose electric balance is capable of reaching 450 revolutions per minute.
This 1/3 scale prototype compared to the final project allowed the SpinLauch teams to carry out a first test at the end of October in the desert of New Mexico (United States). Thanks to its kinetic energy of rotation, the device succeeded in propelling a projectile three meters high at several thousand kilometers per hour. According to the company founder, this innovation could reduce fuel consumption by four compared to traditional launchers, and costs by ten. On the ecological side, the balance also seems to be tilting towards the giant slingshot, because the carbon impact of rockets is often disastrous.
Support by Google and Airbus
The start-up aims to eventually be able to transport up to 200 kg of payload, which would allow it to conquer the flourishing microsatellite market. A sector that could well prove to be hyper competitive in the coming years, with many start-ups looking to get their share of the pie. But thanks to the originality of its concept, SpinLauch leaves with a head start: it has already raised 110 million dollars (97 million euros) from prestigious investors, such as Google or Airbus.
Despite the success of the first tests, this crazy project continues to arouse the mockery of skeptics. As some specialists point out, the device will require expert precision to become viable, and the electronic equipment will have to withstand a lateral acceleration of nearly 10,000 G! Enough to reduce a Thomas Pesquet to a compote if he opted for SpinLauch to return to space. The nugget, however, claims to have already eliminated “ 90% of the risks And plans about 30 additional suborbital test flights over the next eight months to polish its slingshot.
Source: UsineNouvelle – Actualités A la une by www.usinenouvelle.com.
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