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Nasa To Test Catapult That Flings Objects Into Space At 5,000mph

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Nasa To Test Catapult That Flings Objects Into Space At 5,000mph

In news that would have Bart Simpson jumping at the bit, Nasa is planning to test a catapult that can fling objects into space at 5,000mph.

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Yep, 5,000mph. Basically, the speed limit in your local area - plus 4,980mph.

So, why is Nasa throwing objects into space really fast?

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Well, it's all about saving time and money.

The catapult works by revolving a carbon fibre arm within a steel vacuum chamber that measures 91 metres in diameter.

SpaceLaunch have partnered with Nasa to send satellites into space. Credit: SpaceLaunch
SpaceLaunch have partnered with Nasa to send satellites into space. Credit: SpaceLaunch

While the system at first sounds like throwing darts in the dark, the satellites will actually use a small amount of propulsion to synch into their desired orbit, making it an incredibly useful alternative for the Space Agency.

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Nasa has teamed up with a California-based start-up SpinLaunch to cut the cost, time, and complexity of getting in amongst the stars.

The catapult can be made using materials that are pretty widely available.

The satellites will be hurled into space at 5,000mph. Credit: SpaceLaunch
The satellites will be hurled into space at 5,000mph. Credit: SpaceLaunch

CEO of the start-up, Jonathan Yaney commented on their product, saying: "SpinLaunch is offering a unique suborbital flight and high-speed testing service, and the recent launch agreement with Nasa marks a key inflection point as SpinLaunch shifts focus from technology development to commercial offerings.

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"What started as an innovative idea to make space more accessible has materialised into a technically mature and game-changing approach to launch."

Jonathan Yaney, CEO of SpaceLaunch. Credit: SpaceLaunch
Jonathan Yaney, CEO of SpaceLaunch. Credit: SpaceLaunch

In a statement, the company also noted: "Through these turnkey space solutions, SpinLaunch is helping customers eliminate the cost, time, and complexity constraints currently driving space-related business models – ultimately delivering less expensive, scalable access to space."

According to the company's website, its first test launch occurred in October last year, at its Mexico test site.

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Now, with Nasa as a partner, the start-up is set to develop a Suborbital Accelerator Launch System, with the hope of the first test flight taking place in 2025.

Featured Image Credit: SpinLaunch

Topics: NASA, Space, News, World News

Shola Lee
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