SpinLaunch has successfully fulfilled one of NASA’s expectations: that its instruments survive

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The science of sending rockets into space is complex. To solve one of its problems, the SpinLaunch company has been working on a huge centrifuge capable of putting satellites into orbit for some time. Now, with the help of NASA, he has completed a necessary step in the development of this mechanism: making sure the journey doesn’t grind his instruments to a pulp.

Not suitable for human loads.
The alternative mechanism developed by SpinLaunch consists of a centrifuge in which the projectile is accelerated with the charge to be put into orbit, similar to the one used by astronauts to train for the high acceleration charges they will experience during launch, but much More powerful.

No astronaut could survive at an acceleration equivalent to 10,000 times that exerted by gravity on us. However, it is possible that some objects do not either. The latest launch of the company SpaceLunch has had the help of NASA to measure the force to which the instruments traveling on board this system will be subjected.

That’s why the payload on board the projectile that SpinLaunch launched suborbitally from its test centrifuge was loaded with instruments to measure these pressure changes, such as two accelerometers, a gyroscope, magnetometer, and temperature and humidity sensors.

Higher, stronger, further.
The company’s intention is to create a larger system than the current one, with a 45 meter arm capable of rotating at 450 revolutions per minute and with enough resistance to support the equivalent of the weight of 180 Falcon 9 rockets, such will be the “centrifugal” force that it will have to withstand when holding the projectile.

SpinLaunch put a camera on its rocket launched with kinetic energy at 1,600 km / h: the video is spectacular

Launch success.
The projectile was launched in a suborbital trajectory from the company’s facilities in the Jornada del Muerto desert, in New Mexico on September 7.

According to those responsible, it was the first of the tests that contained charges placed by institutions outside the company, such as Cornell University and NASA.

The US space agency and SpinLaunch announced a collaboration agreement last April. One of the points of the agreement implied precisely that the company would include experiments sponsored by NASA in the projectile launched last month.

The fuel problem.
Since the dawn of space exploration, engineers tasked with sending rockets into space have faced a problem: Rockets need fuel to lift their payload. The higher the load, the more fuel is needed for the rocket to take off, but the fuel is a load in itself.

Today the problem is even greater: pollution has become a serious problem on our planet and the fuel from launches contributes to this pollution. The fact that rocket launches are becoming more frequent the pollution generated by them.

Reduce costs.
The agency’s interest in the project is not surprising. Rocket launching is an expensive and polluting process that requires enormous vehicles in relation to the load to be put into orbit.

The demand for “space” on board rockets bound for Earth orbits meanwhile is high, as the growing number of launches shows. SpinLaunch is not the first company to try to fill this niche, nor is it the only private company interested in centrifuges. Of course, for now it seems the most advanced in achieving its goal of creating an orbital launcher that dispenses with rockets.

A resource with a future.
Although considerable progress has been made in reusing these vehicles, there are limits to what can be achieved in this regard. So it is not surprising that engineers from all over the world compete to find alternative designs to the system that we have been using for more than half a century.

In any case, traditional rockets will continue to have their niche as long as we cannot subject astronauts to the immense acceleration required by these devices, which today continue to belong to the domain of science fiction.

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The science of sending rockets into space is complex. To solve one of its problems, the SpinLaunch company has been…

The science of sending rockets into space is complex. To solve one of its problems, the SpinLaunch company has been…

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