SpinLaunch will get to space with 1/10 the cost: the edge of what is possible

The inside of the SpinLaunch centrifuge. Image from Wired dot com

https://www.wired.com/story/inside-spinlaunch-the-space-industrys-best-kept-secret

I love these stories about entrepreneurs coloring outside the lines. “That can’t be done” or “There is a big gulf between theory and reality”. These are statements everyone faces when trying to change the status quo, including in healthcare.

The proposal in brief, use a massive centrifuge to speed a rocket up to 5000 mph and launch it like a slingshot so that it can coast up to the stratosphere and then a tiny rocket pushes it into orbit: it avoids the Tyranny of the Rocket Equation – that most of the mass of a rocket is dedicated to massive engine and the fuel it must burn to put a relatively tiny payload into space.

More power to folks like these. Yes, they might flame out as they get closer to a real trial, but imagine if they succeed:

  • Launch costs of $400k, instead of 10x as much
  • Being able to launch 5x month instead of 5x a year
  • Commoditizing access to space without massive rockets

CMIO’s take? Color outside the lines! I give it a 50:50 chance this is viable as a commercial enterprise after vaulting all the potential hurdles.

Author: CT Lin

CMIO, UCHealth (Colorado); Professor, University of Colorado School of Medicine

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