SpinLaunch Signs Lease with Spaceport America

Spaceport America has announced that SpinLaunch has signed a lease to conduct tests at the facility in southern New Mexico.

“An addition of 20 new jobs will be added locally, as well as investment by SpinLaunch of $7 million in construction capital and $1 million in local infrastructure development for the company,” the spaceport said in a press release.

SpinLaunch is developing a kinetic energy launch system that would spin in a circle at up to 5,000 miles per hour before it is released to fly to space. The system would not use any propellants.

Albuquerque Business First has some additional details on the Spaceport America deal.

The California company is leasing acreage from the commercial space hub near Truth or Consequences and will build a facility employing at least 20 people, according to spokeswoman Diane Murphy. It will include a launch site that Murphy said will serve as a testing grounds for its launching technology.

Spaceport CEO Dan Hicks said there was potential for a lease extension. SpinLaunch will invest $7 million in facility construction and $1 million in infrastructure development. The deal is important for the $220 million taxpayer-subsidized Spaceport, which has struggled in the past to secure tenants….

Murphy also said the company considered several locations for the test site, but that Spaceport provided the best mix of affordability and location. New Mexico’s renewable energy potential, universities and young labor pool were also considered assets.

SpinLaunch raised $40 million in venture funding last year. Most of the money came from Airbus Ventures, Alphabet Inc.’s GV (formerly Google Ventures), and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

  • ThomasLMatula

    When the Southwest Regional Spaceport was in the site selection process in the 1990’s one factor in favor of the site selected, which became Spaceport America was the high altitude and the land rising to the peaks of the San Andres Mountains before a sharp dropoff into the WSMR. This makes ideally suited for external powered launch systems like SpinLaunch. Since the area is under the Western Extension of the WSMR there will be no problems with the sonic booms created and the high altitude and dry air will reduce friction. This is a good move by SpinLaunch and I wish them luck.

  • ReusablesForever

    5000 mph is about Mach 7 so they’ll have an aeroheating problem at the start, as will the launcher system. Then they will have to pull up to an ascent trajectory so that implies some sort of lifting surface – another problem. I suspect that the launcher will require a ton of power, probably more that can be generated by renewable sources, so they will have to resort to on-the-grid electric power which is produced by coal – yet another problem. Then again, whirling at those speeds will generate some real spiffy g-loads on the vehicle as it spins up.

  • ThomasLMatula

    Getting power off of the grid will be easy as a major power line runs through that area. But the other factors will be a challenge, and why systems like this work best on the Moon and asteroids.

  • Pete Zaitcev

    I just wish they developed something more sensible, like a railgun.

  • duheagle

    I wish they would put something on their web site besides the press release announcing their raising of $40 million in venture capital. I have no idea how their system is supposed to work and thus have no basis upon which to judge whether it is “more sensible” than a railgun or not.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t consider railguns particularly “sensible” as the exemplars to-date seem to be both cranky and high-maintenance.

  • Pete Zaitcev

    No doubt implementations of them were so-so. But at least the acceleration is applied in the axial direction, which is easier for the next stage to survive. Remember that you still need another 5..6 km/s dV after fired by any one of those things. The fastest at release was the Bull cannon.

  • duheagle

    Yes, I hope their plan isn’t to spin the upper stage and payload at thousands of RPM. As you correctly note, there will need to be a second stage of some kind. There are a number of ways to convert the energy of a large spun-up mass to linear kinetic energy. The simplest is probably to suddenly convert it to electricity with a magnetic brake/generator and feed the electricity into some electric launch mechanism – like a railgun. From the standpoint of controllability and maintainability, I’d be more inclined to go with a coilgun myself.

  • Wholewitt

    Who is going on the first ride? Glad to see something going on at the NM spaceport.

  • SJG_2010

    I call complete BS. This thing will never work. The only people who invested money are non-technical types.