SpinLaunch conducts first test flight


Space launch company SpinLaunch has conducted its first test flight from its suborbital accelerator at Spaceport America in New Mexico, USA.

The first launch, which happened last month is a major milestone for the company, which was founded in 2014 and has attracted more than US$110 million of funding from backers such as Airbus and Google.

The company plans to conduct about 30 suborbital test flights over the next six to eight months from the New Mexico site.

SpinLaunch broke ground on its facility at Spaceport America in 2019. The company’s launch system uses a vacuum-sealed centrifuge to accelerate a projectile to 5,000mph (8,000km/h) by spinning it and then catapults it into orbit.

The 150ft (45m) tower constructed at Spaceport America is the world’s tallest suborbital accelerator and has cost around US$38 million to build.

Spaceport America’s executive director Scott McLaughlin said, “In just a little over two years, and even with the difficulties of Covid-19, SpinLaunch was able to bring their site to life and conduct their first high-altitude operational launch. We are very happy for them and expect that they will be important contributors to New Mexico’s growing aerospace ecosystem for years to come.”


The SpinLaunch suborbital accelerator launcher at Spaceport America in New Mexico (Image: Spaceport America)

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Ben has worked as a journalist and editor, covering technology, engineering and industry for the last 20 years. Initially writing about subjects from nuclear submarines to autonomous cars to future design and manufacturing technologies, he was editor of a leading UK-based engineering magazine before becoming editor of Aerospace Testing in 2017.

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