Posted: Wednesday, May 8, 2019
Spaceport America, the world’s first purpose-built commercial spaceport, and SpinLaunch, an innovative new space company revolutionizing access to space, today celebrated the ground-breaking of SpinLaunch’s future test facility at Spaceport America.
Attending the groundbreaking ceremony was Dan Hicks, CEO, Spaceport America, Alicia Keyes, Cabinet Secretary for Economic Development for the State of New Mexico, and Jonathan Yaney, founder and CEO of SpinLaunch, among New Mexico government and business leaders, and students from area universities.
In January, Spaceport America announced a new lease agreement that will facilitate testing for the new launch company. The new agreement enables SpinLaunch to develop a $7 million construction project, adding 20 new jobs in New Mexico at the Spaceport.
SpinLaunch, which was founded in 2014, and last year announced a $40 million Series A financing round funded by Airbus Ventures, Google Ventures and Kleiner Perkins, is developing disruptive launch technology with an environmentally responsible kinetic energy-based launch system that will provide the world’s lowest-cost orbital launch services for the rapidly growing small satellite industry. The responsive launch system will allow for on-demand launches of small satellites in virtually any weather at an order of magnitude lower cost and higher frequency than any existing or proposed launch system.
“We are excited to be developing our first flight test site at Spaceport America,” remarked Jonathan Yaney, CEO, SpinLaunch. “The state of New Mexico historically has been the genesis of innovation in aerospace going back to the early days of rocketry and we are proud to continue this tradition. The commercial space market is expected to grow to a trillion dollar industry within the decade and this new agreement with Spaceport America will expedite our ability to service that emerging market.”
"I'm excited to welcome an innovative company like SpinLaunch to our state," Gov. Lujan Grisham said. "Aerospace has tremendous potential as an economic driver, and any step we take that encourages the growth of an industry that can put New Mexicans to work and catalyze our local communities is a very positive development."
“The citizens of New Mexico have supported Spaceport America to enable a new revolution in space systems,” said Dan Hicks, CEO, Spaceport America. “SpinLaunch, with its new configuration to employ kinetic energy, is truly one of the most exciting new ventures to enter the space industry and we are excited to be part of their growth - and in turn enable the growth of the small satellite market.”
“In New Mexico space is not the final frontier, it’s the next frontier,” said Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes of the Economic Development Department. “We have the facility, we have the talent and we have the air space, to grow the aerospace industry and be a permanent home to SpinLaunch and other companies.”
SpinLaunch is reimagining space launch by revisiting fundamental physics and leveraging proven industrial technologies to create a system that accelerates the launch vehicle to hypersonic speeds using ground-based energy. Applying the initial performance boost from a terrestrial-based launch platform will enable the company to provide a substantially lower cost launch to orbit, multiple times per day. (Company fact sheet is located at the bottom of this release.)
Spaceport America is the first purpose-built commercial spaceport in the world. The FAA-licensed launch complex, situated on 18,000 acres adjacent to the U.S. Army White Sands Missile Range in southern New Mexico, has a rocket friendly environment of 6,000 square miles of restricted airspace, low population density, a 12,000-foot spaceway, and 340 days of sunshine and low humidity. Some of the most respected companies in the commercial space industry are customers at Spaceport America: Virgin Galactic, Boeing, UP Aerospace, HyperSciences, EXOS Aerospace, and SpinLaunch. Visit http://spaceportamerica.com for more information.
SPINLAUNCH FACT SHEET
What is the Mission of SpinLaunch?
SpinLaunch is revolutionizing access to space by building the world’s lowest cost space launch system to place constellations of small satellites into Low Earth Orbit (LEO).
Who founded Spinlaunch?
SpinLaunch was founded in 2014, by Jonathan Yaney, who also serves as Chief Executive Officer. Mr. Yaney is a 1,000+ hour pilot and serial entrepreneur with 15 years’ experience founding companies in Fortune 500 consulting, IT, construction, and aerospace industries.
Where is the company located?
SpinLaunch operates out of a 140,000 square foot facility in Long Beach, California. SpinLaunch has also leased 10 acres on Spaceport America and is building a 7 million dollar facility to conduct flight testing of it’s unique technology. This will initially add 20+ new jobs to the local New Mexico economy.
What is the market for SpinLaunch?
There is a promising market surge in the demand for LEO constellations of inexpensive small satellites for disaster monitoring, weather, reconnaissance, communications and a number of other applications. The small satellite economy is expected to grow at a rate of 20% per year through 2022 leading to an estimated $30B+ addressable market within the decade. . In the last two years, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has received applications to launch more than 20,000 small satellites. However, due to the lack of cost-efficient dedicated launch capabilities, small satellite owners have not had ready access to space, severely limiting their ability to distribute satellites effectively. Increasing mission costs and slow development schedules have contributed to a reduction in mission returns.
How is Spinlaunch different from existing launch capabilities?
SpinLaunch is the only proposed launch system to employ ground-based kinetic energy in a secure structure to launch its payloads without rockets. Since the beginning of the space program, ground-based non-rocket launch systems, such as rail guns and ram accelerators have been proposed to achieve this goal, however all have employed unproven technologies with cost-prohibitive initial capital investment.
What is SpinLaunch’s approach to cutting the costs?
SpinLaunch utilizes existing technology and components from oil/gas/mining and wind turbine industries to construct an innovative mass acceleration system, which achieves very high launch speeds without the need for enormous power generation or massive infrastructure. After ascending above the atmosphere, a relatively small, low-cost onboard rocket will be used to provide the final required velocity for orbital insertion. Because the majority of the energy required to reach orbit is sourced from ground-based electricity, as opposed to complex onboard rocket propulsion, total launch cost is reduced by an order of magnitude over existing launch systems. Due to its unique technology, SpinLaunch is able to offer readily-available, low cost, dedicated launches at high frequencies. SpinLaunch is working to provide up to five launches per day at a price of $250,000 / launch.
What is the impact on the Environment?
Under the National Environmental Protection Act, all Federal actions such as approving a launch license require an environmental assessment. The level of effort involved for SpinLaunch is mitigated by several factors: 1) the overall environmental footprint of the system is relatively minor as there are no significant quantities of propellants being combusted, 2) the environmental assessment can incorporate existing work such as is being done by Wallops Flight Facility for the US Navy’s Electromagnetic Gun to evaluate technology-specific impacts, and 3) the environmental impacts may fall within the scope of existing launch site environmental findings. For launches from private lands, SpinLaunch will work closely with the FAA/AST, in addition to local and state authorities to address required environmental processes.
Has SpinLaunch received financial support?
In April 2018, Spinlaunch announced that it had raised $40M in initial seed funding from prominent Silicon Valley venture capital companies: Airbus Ventures, GV (Alphabet), and Kleiner Perkins, as well as institutional investors Lauder Partners, ATW Partners, Bolt, Starlight Ventures, Neotribe and Catapult Ventures. Funds are being used to scale the SpinLaunch team and technology through first launch by 2022.
Contact: Diane Murphy +1.310.658.8756 DMurphy@spinlaunch.com
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