SpinLaunch raises $35M round to build its space catapult launch system

Space ambitious company, SpinLaunch, has raised $35M funding round to continue its goal of building a “space catapult” launch system. Though SpinLaunch has not demonstrated their technology yet, they claim that they will be doing so this year. TechCrunch first reported that SpinLaunch had raised a $35M round in 2018, and $10M before that as well. That’s put the company at around $80M raised until now.

Airbus Ventures, GV, KPCM, and Catapult Ventures are some of the well-known investors that have led the previous and current $35M rounds. The funs will be used to complete its Spaceport America testing facility and HQ/R&D facility in Long Beach.

The ultimate goal of SpinLaunch, as with other private space companies, is to reduce the cost of launch. This company is taking a unique approach by attempting to eliminate the rocket engine by providing external acceleration.

Image: TechCrunch

The needle-tipped design of the launch vehicle is for the unique way it is supposed to reach space. Although there are no concrete details for SpinLaunch’s plans, the company is expected to use some sort of accelerating mechanism to finally “throw” the launch vehicle into the upper atmosphere.

Jonathan Yaney, founder and CEO of SpinLaunch, said in a press conference: “Later this year, we aim to change the history of space launch with the completion of our first flight test mass accelerator at Spaceport America.”

The way he uses the word “mass accelerator” describes the kind of launch approach that SpinLaunch is attempting. The needle-like vehicle will undergo acceleration in an “electric kinetic launcher” before being launched into the atmosphere. There are still many questions regarding how the company will accelerate such a large mass to above escape velocity.

Illustration depicting SpinLaunch orbital vehicle inside the electric kinetic launcher (Photo: Business Wire)

Jonathan Yaney has also announced last year that the company was awarded a launch prototype contract from the Department of Defense (DOD), facilitated by the Defense Innovation Unit (DIU) (via Business Wire).

If the tests go well this year, the company says that commercial launches could be expected by 2022. They say that they aim to bring down the cost-to-orbit to $500,000. What do you think of this external acceleration approach? Let us know in the comments!

Source: TechCrunch

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