A company called SpinLaunch is building and testing a new technology – a super slingshot aiming to send satellites into obit around the Earth. The system uses a huge centrifuge to spin a launch vehicle inside a vacuum chamber. When it reaches supersonic speeds, the vehicle is released toward the sky. SpinLaunch has conducted several suborbital test flights as it prepares for a much larger slingshot to begin orbital flights in 2026. The company hopes to conduct several several orbital launches a day much cheaper and cleaner than current technology.
Class discussion: Do you think this new technology can succeed in putting satellites into orbit? What are some of the obstacles to turning a daring new idea into a reality? How often do new technology attempts fail? Can you find examples of radical new ideas that have failed or succeeded? There are thousands of man-made objects already circling the Earth. Could the success of the SpinLaunch technology make the clutter overwhelming? Is there any government or agency that can keep the space around Earth from turning into a very dangerous junkyard?