Although the new launching system contains nothing particularly novel in terms of technology; all that was actually needed was someone insane enough to envision a space catapult. Now, the world’s first ‘space catapult’ is going to shoot objects at speeds of 5,000 MPH into the cosmos.
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The very first known catapult was devised by the ancient Greeks in 400 BC. The Soviet Union used a rocket powered structure to launch the Sputnik I satellite in 1957. In 2022, a firm in New Mexico is trying to integrate those two innovations.
Satellites and supplies could very well shortly be launched into space utilizing advanced technologies clearly influenced by ancient Greece, if a collaboration between NASA and a California-based start-up group appears productive.
SpinLaunch, a US firm, revealed in a latest press release that its ‘in-the-works’ catapult will indeed be adept of transferring items into space by thrusting them at 5,000 miles per hour from its 300-foot diameter vacuum chamber.
The space catapult is designed to launch a 440-pound payload into orbit at a tiny proportion of the expense and environmental effect of conventional rockets. The finished design will be marginally taller than the Statue of Liberty, standing over 165 feet.
The catapult’s first orbital flights are scheduled to start in 2025, with around 30 test suborbital flights plotted over the next eight months. The test flights will begin in earnest at New Mexico’s Spaceport America.
The payloads are not entirely free of rockets. Initially, the catapult will launch the satellite or supplies as tall as conceivable at 5,000 mph. The stash will then be lifted into space by small rockets. The quantity of rocket fuel necessary will be a small fraction of that deemed necessary by conventional rockets.
Traditional rockets require over 500,000 gallons of water. While rocket fuel greenhouse emissions are miniscule in comparison to commercial aviation, the quantity per launch is huge, and this could even become a concern as the space industry expands. Furthermore, rocket launches have negatively affected fresh water supplies, and also some rockets discharge aluminum oxide straight into the stratosphere, the long-term impacts of which are unknown.
Space junk is also becoming more of an issue, with many abandoned launchers and components being left in orbit around the Earth. SpinLaunch claims that their space catapult would alleviate 70% of the fuel and frameworks considered necessary by a conventional rocket.
Surprisingly, the system contains nothing particularly novel in terms of technology; all that was actually needed was someone insane enough to envision a space catapult. According to a SpinLaunch press release, the company “leverages existing industrial hardware and commonly available materials to construct the innovative accelerator system, achieving hypersonic launch speeds without the need for any fundamental advancements in material science or usage of emerging technologies.”
The project is a component of NASA’s Space Act Agreement, which has recently signed agreements with Elon Musk’s SpaceX and Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin. The deal’s goal is to encourage private-sector companies to invest in the space industry.