SpinLaunchThe payload-to-orbit technique, which uses centrifugal force to blast mass into space, has drawn its fair share of skeptics. But at least some of those skeptics are probably a little calmer today, as the company announced a notable new round of funding to accelerate the commercialization of its Kinetic Launch System.
The company’s latest funding round is $71 million, including equity and debt, bringing SpinLaunch’s overall funding to $150 million. The Series B round was led by ATW Partners and includes participation from Kleiner Perkins, GV, ATMA Capital, ONA Capital, Lauder Partners, McKinley Capital, Tyche Partners, as well as John Doerr, Brook Byers, Asher Delug, Chuck Brady, Andrew Farkas and Greg McAdoo.
SpinLaunch wants to completely transform the way we move things around in space. Metaverse Marketing first considered the idea in 2018 when the company came out of hiding. The launch system works like this: instead of using a conventional rocket to vertically propel objects into orbit, SpinLaunch wants to use an aerodynamic launcher attached to a rotating arm in a large vacuum chamber. This arm will spin faster and faster, until it propels the vehicle through space at around 5,000 MPH.
The company has already conducted test launches using a 33-meter system it calls a ‘suborbital mass accelerator’ – during which it fired a payload north of 1,000 mph at almost 30,000 feet – and it has struck a deal with NASA for further testing.
“We have completed nine successful flight tests to date, removing technical risk as we prepare the way to build our full-scale orbital launch system,” CEO Jonathan Yaney said in a statement. This large-scale system is expected to be three times larger than the Suborbital Mass Accelerator. SpinLaunch is also developing a line of mass-produced satellite products, presumably tough enough to withstand the incredible g-forces that are likely to be generated during launch.
The company said it is on track to put satellites into orbit using its system by 2026. Although all testing was done at Spaceport America in New Mexico, the company is in phase final selection for its first orbital launch site.