Smart & Weird

Rockets turning out to be too expensive, Spin Launch proposes to throw a satellite to space !

Swinging satellites into space seems crazy – but maybe it just works, let us see the details!

Although Rockets work fine. There is no doubt that it is awesome when chemical reactions are used to send stuff to space. However, because of the cost factor, we can’t keep using chemical rockets to put satellites in orbit.

This is because fuel is expensive and heavy. This translates to “we need even more fuel to carry the fuel.”

There is a whole new proposal sent by the SpinLaunch. The idea is to throw a missile off the planet physically. It is the same way that we used to throw stones using a leather sling.

The only difference being that here we need a giant centrifuge would spin the craft around in a vacuum to build up a lot of speed and then provide a clear path for it to slingshot into space.

There are multiple challenges, such as air drag, etc

The calculations are impressive, to say the least. Here are a few details about the physics involved.

  1. Launcher spins in a circle with a diameter of 100 meters.
  2. Payload mass of 100 kilograms, plus maybe another 100 kg for the spacecraft (I assume this is just a small prototype)
  3. The rotation speed at the launch of 450 revolutions per minute
    Launch speed of 7,500 kilometers per hour (4,660 mph)
  4. Spin-up time of 1.5 hours
  5. Launch angle at 35 degrees

a sphere cut off with a dot in the middle. Three lines move away from the dot toward the outer edge.

It is still a rocket. So after the aircraft reaches the outer atmosphere around 60 Km above the ground, a rocket engine shall be used to propel it further.

The payload will experience a force of more than 10000 gs. To put things in perspective, humans can’t handle more than 10gs for an extended period of time.

About the author

Kaustuv Chattopadhyay

Engineering Undergrad at NIT DGP| CS Enthusiast| Content Creator
Loves watching cricket. Film fanatic.

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