Tuesday, May 21, 2024

SpinLaunch closes new funding round to fling payload to space

A California-based space technology company, SpinLaunch, has closed a $71 million Series B funding round. The funds will be used to continue the development and commercialization of the world’s first kinetic launch system and satellite product line, designed to provide low-cost, high-cadence, environmentally responsible space access.

The company raised the funding in a Series B round led by ATW partners. This means the firm has raised a total of $150 million as part of its bid to disrupt the small satellite launch industry.

The SpinLaunch’s mission is to bring the world low-cost, sustainable access to space. For this, it is building a ground-based, kinetic launch system that delivers a substantially less expensive and environmentally sustainable system to place constellations of small satellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO). Its system for sending payload to orbit uses centrifugal force to fling mass to space.

SpinLaunch’s Orbital Accelerator will accelerate a launch vehicle containing a satellite up to 5,000 mph using a rotating carbon fiber arm within a 100-meter diameter steel vacuum chamber. That arm will spin faster and faster until it flings the vehicle to space.

By doing so, the company claims, over 70% of the fuel and structures that make up a typical rocket reach orbit can be eliminated. It also enables ten times reduction in cost and the ability to launch multiple times per day. The launch vehicles then use rocket engines to carry out the final orbital insertion, where they then deploy their payload in orbit.

The company has already conducted tests using its 33-meter Suborbital Mass Accelerator, which acts primarily as a test-bed for the Orbital Launch System. SpinLaunch’s first test flight successfully propelled a test vehicle at supersonic speeds and ended with the recovery of the reusable flight vehicle. Since then, the suborbital system has conducted regular test flights with a variety of payloads at speeds in excess of 1,000 mph at Spaceport America, located in New Mexico.

“SpinLaunch’s mission is to bring the world low-cost, sustainable access to space. We’ve taken a big step in that direction with the completion of our 33-meter Suborbital Mass Accelerator,” explained CEO Jonathan Yaney. “We have completed nine successful flight tests to date, retiring the technical risk as we prepare the way for the construction of our full-size Orbital Launch system. In addition, the team continues to build out a low-cost, mass-manufactured, satellite product line that will ensure our customers have a uniquely differentiated platform for building space capabilities.”

The company has planned to place satellites into orbit and deliver payloads for spacefaring endeavors by 2026. NASA has signed a Space Act Agreement with the company to launch one of its payloads into space on Suborbital Accelerator Launch System at supersonic speeds and recover it shortly thereafter.