In the 1960s, the United States and Canada jointly spearheaded the HARP program [High Altitude Research Project] Inspired by the concept Jules Verne developed in his book “From Earth to the Moon”, he aimed to create a cannon powerful enough to send an object into orbit. The aim is to find an alternative to rockets at an expensive cost. However, after successfully launching a projectile weighing nearly 200 kg into the lower part of the spacecraft, the project was canceled.
Does this mean that nothing better than a rocket or an airplane has been found to keep satellites in orbit? Finding another solution is a challenge for the American company SpinLauch, Its project has attracted investors [dont Google Ventures et Airbus Ventures], Which has funded up to $ 110 million since it was created in 2014.
SpinLauch’s idea is to re-create a “motion launcher system” by planning the slingshot policy in a broad outline. Clearly, under vacuum, a centrifuge is what gives an object its hypersonic velocity before it is released. Then, at an altitude of about 60 km [200’000 pieds], Starts an engine in order to reach a speed of 29,000 km per vehicle. The payload weighing 200 kg can then be released into orbit.
After announcing the success of the first test of this “suborbital accelerator”, Jonathan Yane, CEO of SpinLaunch, told CNBC that “this is a completely different way of accelerating projectiles and propelling vehicles at hypersonic speeds.” The Spaceport of New Mexico was held in the United States on October 22nd.
The centrifuge used for this test, at an altitude of 90 meters, has been reduced by a third to the dimensions SpinLaunch intends to create for future launches. But it was enough to give “3 kilometers per hour” speed to a reusable vehicle 3 meters long, thus allowing it to operate a sub-aircraft. According to Jonathan Yane, this required only 20% of the power of this “accelerator”.
Since then, SpinLaunch plans to make about 30 suborbital test flights, this time with an engine-equipped vehicle, which was not in the test conducted last month. However, the company assures that risk reduction studies are already 90% complete.
The role of such a concept is economics. Thus, Spinlaunch estimates that its process will reduce the cost of placing small satellites in orbit and ensure five launches per day. But for that, there must still be such a demand … However, the Pentagon has expressed its desire Announced a deal On SpinLaunch in 2019, via its “Security Innovation Unit”.
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