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SpinLaunch expands operations at Spaceport America in NM

Capitalism in space: SpinLaunch, the private launch startup that proposes to fling payloads into orbit rather than launch them in a rocket, has announced that it will be expanding its operations at Spaceport America in New Mexico.

The company already built a $7 million, 10,000-square-foot facility at the Spaceport after announcing plans last year to conduct all testing there on its new technology. Now, the company is doubling down, with plans to hire an additional 59 people and invest another $46 million over 10 years. The state Economic Development Department will support the expansion with $4 million in Local Economic Development Act funding, said EDD Secretary Alicia J. Keyes.

…Under its expansion, the company plans to actually build the centrifuge launch system at the spaceport, with test launches to start next year. “We expect by next summer to begin flight test operations at the spaceport, and we expect to continue to test new flight designs there for the foreseeable future,” Yaney told the Journal. “We see it as a permanent facility for us.”

The idea is fascinating, but I have some doubts. First, the accelerations will be so high that it might limit the company’s customer base, since many satellites will likely not be able to withstand those forces.

If it works, however, the company will have found a truly clever way to eliminate entirely the need for a first stage, and maybe even the second stage.

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Conscious Choice cover

Now available in hardback and paperback as well as ebook!

 

From the press release: In this ground-breaking new history of early America, historian Robert Zimmerman not only exposes the lie behind The New York Times 1619 Project that falsely claims slavery is central to the history of the United States, he also provides profound lessons about the nature of human societies, lessons important for Americans today as well as for all future settlers on Mars and elsewhere in space.

 
Conscious Choice: The origins of slavery in America and why it matters today and for our future in outer space, is a riveting page-turning story that documents how slavery slowly became pervasive in the southern British colonies of North America, colonies founded by a people and culture that not only did not allow slavery but in every way were hostile to the practice.  
Conscious Choice does more however. In telling the tragic history of the Virginia colony and the rise of slavery there, Zimmerman lays out the proper path for creating healthy societies in places like the Moon and Mars.

 

“Zimmerman’s ground-breaking history provides every future generation the basic framework for establishing new societies on other worlds. We would be wise to heed what he says.” —Robert Zubrin, founder of founder of the Mars Society.

 

All editions are available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and all book vendors, with the ebook priced at $5.99 before discount. The ebook can also be purchased direct from my ebook publisher, ebookit, in which case you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

 

Autographed printed copies are also available at discount directly from me (hardback $24.95; paperback $14.95; Shipping cost for either: $5.00). Just email me at zimmerman @ nasw dot org.

7 comments

  • John hare

    The paywall got me but I have read of this company before. Somewhat less credibility than Branson.

  • Ray Van Dune

    Ouch!!

  • pzatchok

    It would be a cheap way to send minerals back to Earth from the Moon.

  • Dick Eagleson

    Or a way to put refined materials into lunar orbit without propellant. The value of lunar minerals is going to be for their local consumption, not their export to Earth.

  • Max

    I also doubt.
    The sudden thrust will crush even metal. The sudden loss of weight on a spinning fly wheel will immediately cause an out of balance situation which will destroy the machinery. Once begun, the large spinning mass will not be able to suddenly stop in an emergency situation. (The inertia of momentum)
    The power requirements is greater then the instantaneous start / stop of a mass driver/magnetic acceleration like a rail gun. “Abort” can stop the process as fast as it can accelerate it. (even though the newest $9 billion aircraft carrier cannot make theirs work reliable to launch aircraft… even the elevators don’t work yet)

    I like the proposals using old volcanoes.
    The one in Africa (of many around the world) is near the equator, magnetic thrust for a few miles before reaching the volcano then accelerated upwards along the flank will eliminate the need for the first stage placing the rocket outside of the atmosphere. (The last few miles and up the side of the volcano will have a tunnel where the air itself will be ionized and thrust upwards with the rocket)

    The same technology can be used on Mars, mercury, and to the manufacturing facility in orbit around the moon. Some units will be strong enough for launching food and supplies from Luna to Mars and Jupiter.
    Future technology and specialized equipment and drugs that can be manufactured only in freefall will be sent back to earth. (unless the lunar colony grows food like in the book, “The moon is a harsh mistress” for the starving masses after uncontrolled population growth or an ecological disaster)

  • john hare

    Max,
    Spinning is viable in vacuum, just not for Earth launch in atmosphere. There is a considerable body of work on tethers as rotovators, including lunar launch capabilities. There is no sudden thrust that will crush. Even a BS company may base their concepts on real engineering before they go off into lala land.

  • Max

    John hare, I agree with that assessment. A launch from earth would be impractical. No restrictions in a vacuum… other than moving parts tend to break down, or wear out. A fuel tank rupture under high G could destroy the launching mechanism.

    Do a search on this site for “space elevator”
    We had quite a conversation on the newest technology nearly allowing a space elevator to be practical on earth. The technology already exist for an elevator on both the moon and mars.
    An extension on the lunar elevator will launch a payload off the end of the cable and out of the solar system.
    A cable has no moving parts, if the cable (actually a bi-surfaced ribbon) having alternating current on the ribbon will allow opposing reaction motors to magnetically drive the elevator up or down without touching or needing to bring its own power supply.(Just oxygen/life support and sleeping / bathroom facilities) It has no limit to how fast it can go other than propulsion electronic switching and slowing down so they don’t overshoot geosynchronous orbit. So it can take only a day or two to reach the end instead of weeks. The future looks hopeful, and practical.

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