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SpinLaunch completes milestone flight test - launching for NASA, Airbus, Cornell University, Outpost

SpinLaunch today announced the results of its tenth successful Flight Test of its Suborbital Accelerator from Spaceport America, New Mexico. The flight test, which occurred on September 27, 2022, demonstrated that SpinLaunch partners’ standard satellite components are inherently compatible with SpinLaunch’s launch environment, and provided critical flight data, as all payloads were flown and recovered successfully. Flight Test 10, which had a similar flight trajectory as previous campaigns, was witnessed by more than 150 partners, government officials, and industry advocates. It was the company’s tenth flight test in just under eleven months since the Suborbital Mass Accelerator came online in late 2021.

“Flight Test 10 represents a key inflection point for SpinLaunch, as we’ve opened the Suborbital Accelerator system externally for our customers, strategic partners, and research groups,” said Jonathan Yaney, Founder & CEO of SpinLaunch. “The data and insights collected from flight tests will be invaluable for both SpinLaunch, as we further the development of the Orbital Launch system, and for our customers who are looking to us to provide them with low-cost, high-cadence, sustainable access to space.”

Test Flight Payloads

Four partner payloads, as well as two instrumentation payloads, were flown on the Suborbital Accelerator Flight Test Vehicle. For partners, the flight test provided critical data on the launch environment and payload integration process. As part of the pre-flight qualification process, SpinLaunch accelerated payloads up to 10,000G in SpinLaunch’s 12-meter Lab Accelerator at its Long Beach headquarters. Payloads were inspected post-spin and subsequently integrated into the Flight Test Vehicle in preparation for Flight Test 10.

NASA Captures Insights and Data from SpinLaunch’s Payload Integration Process, Testing & Launch Environment

Earlier this year, SpinLaunch signed a Space Act Agreement with NASA to develop, integrate and fly a NASA payload, providing the agency with the information necessary to determine the potential of future commercial launch opportunities with SpinLaunch. Two key goals were at the heart of the agreement: to better understand SpinLaunch’s payload integration and testing procedures, and gain insight into the mass accelerator launch environment. To fulfill this objective, NASA provided a Data Acquisition Unit (DAQ) to capture critical launch characteristics of SpinLaunch’s kinetic launch system. The sensor suite was equipped with two accelerometers in addition to a gyroscope, magnetometer, and sensors for pressure, temperature, and humidity.

Prior to handoff, NASA performed their own thermal and acceleration tests to validate the DAQ would capture the desired launch environment data. After the NASA qualification tests, SpinLaunch conducted high-g acceleration testing on the DAQ and confirmed function of the hardware in advance of the Suborbital Accelerator Flight Test. After the completion of Flight Test 10, the DAQ was successfully recovered and removed from the Flight Test Vehicle. SpinLaunch test engineers retrieved the data and reviewed it with NASA personnel from their Flight Opportunities program, who were onsite to observe the Flight Test in person.