Home New mexico economy SpinLaunch raises $71 million – SpaceNews

SpinLaunch raises $71 million – SpaceNews

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PARIS — SpinLaunch, a company developing a launch system that uses a centrifuge as its first stage, has raised $71 million to continue working on that system and a line of satellites.

SpinLaunch, based in Long Beach, Calif., announced on September 20 that it had raised funding in a Series B round led by ATW Partners, with participation from several other funds and individuals. The cycle is a mix of debt and equity, but the company did not disclose the split between the two.

The company has raised $150 million to date to fund work on a unique launch system that uses a centrifuge to accelerate vehicles to hypersonic speeds. Vehicles will then use rocket engines, as on conventional upper stages, to place payloads into orbit. SpinLaunch argues that this approach can allow for a much higher rate of flight than conventional rockets while being more environmentally friendly.

“We share the company’s goal of realizing the full potential of the space economy by developing a breakthrough space launch system that is both ultra-low cost and environmentally sustainable,” said Wen Hsieh, General Partner of Kleiner Perkins, a venture capital firm that participated in the funding round, in a statement.

SpinLaunch built a smaller version of its centrifuge at Spaceport America in New Mexico, 33 meters in diameter, for suborbital testing. The system launched its first vehicle in October 2021 and has completed nine tests so far, although it has released few details on the speed and maximum altitude of those tests.

“SpinLaunch’s mission is to bring the world sustainable, low-cost access to space. We have taken a big step in this direction with the completion of our 33-meter Suborbital Mass Accelerator, said Jonathan Yaney, CEO of SpinLaunch, “removing technical risk as we prepare the way for the construction of our full size. Orbital launch system.

The company plans to begin orbital launches with a much larger accelerator, 100 meters in diameter, as early as 2026, but has not announced where that accelerator will be based. It won’t be at Spaceport America because of hover issues, said Randy Villahermosa, vice president of space products and systems at SpinLaunch, during a Sept. 14 presentation at the Small Payload Ride Share Association’s annual symposium.

While the orbital centrifuge won’t be ready until 2026, Villahermosa mentioned in his speech that the company is planning “an interim service around 2024 that will use some of our satellite and launch technology.” He didn’t give details about the service, but said the company would release additional details in the coming months.

SpinLaunch, in addition to the launch system, is working on satellites optimized for this. They include a 12U cubesat bus and a 200 kilogram satellite, the latter equal to the payload capacity of the orbiting system. A prototype 12U cubesat will launch as early as January, he said, but revealed the launch vendor.

The company is developing the satellites in part to meet anticipated demand for launch services that could exceed what current satellite manufacturers could meet. The orbital system is designed for a maximum of 10 launches per day and 2,000 per year. “We expect there won’t be enough of an industrial base to support our launch system, but there’s a lot of demand,” he said.

The satellites are also designed specifically for the orbital system, where the centrifuge accelerates payloads to 10,000g. SpinLaunch has also tested satellite components and found that many can handle the launch environment despite these accelerations, in part because the acceleration takes place in a vacuum and therefore there are no random vibrations from acoustics.

“We get asked a lot of questions about gs,” he said. “It’s a very soft 10,000g.”