Jun
15
2018

SPACE TREBUCHETS*!

Kind of:

On Thursday, a Silicon Valley startup called SpinLaunch Inc. will reveal the first details of its plans to build a machine meant to hurl rockets into space. To achieve that goal, SpinLaunch has secured $40 million from some top technology investors, said Jonathan Yaney, the founder.  The company remains tight-lipped about exactly how this contraption will work, although its name gives away the basic idea. Rather than using propellants like kerosene and liquid oxygen to ignite a fire under a rocket, SpinLaunch plans to get a rocket spinning in a circle at up to 5,000 miles per hour and then let it go—more or less throwing the rocket to the edge of space, at which point it can light up and deliver objects like satellites into orbit.

Via Facebook.  The basic principle is… well, OK, it’s basically a skeet shoot.  Or Mjolnir.  You take the payload, and throw it into space.  The major advantage there is that the fuel that generates the thrust stays on the ground, which means that you don’t have to put it on the rocket, because putting it on there would make the rocket heavier, which means that you would need more fuel, which — well, you can see how that goes.

Of course, there are things to overcome, like how much energy you’ll need to get a payload up to 5K MPH, how you keep the stuff inside from breaking, what happens when the cord snaps when the payload is spinning at a mere 1K MPH, what happens if the rocket engine doesn’t light up — but they’ve got the first step, which is a wicked cool concept to show investors.  And, really: what more does one need?

Moe Lane

PS: Yes, this much like an electromagnetic cannon. Only, more, ah, mechanical.

*’TREBUCHET’ IS A WORD, GOOGLE CHROME. LOOK IT UP, YOU SEMI-ILLITERATE VULGARIANS.  …OH, BUT YOU KNOW ‘VULGARIAN?’  GOD SAVE US ALL.

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