SpinLaunch Inc. has closed a $35 million Series A funding round with a powerhouse syndicate of investors. Investors include Airbus Ventures, GV (formerly Google Ventures), and Kleiner Perkins. This syndicate joins institutional investors including Lauder Partners, ATW Partners, Bolt, and Starlight Ventures to total $40 million. Investment funds will be used to scale the team and technology, through first launch by 2022.
SpinLaunch is revolutionizing access to space by developing a kinetic energy launch system designed to provide the world’s lowest-cost orbital launch service for the rapidly growing small satellite industry. Their environmentally responsible approach is unmatched in the industry. SpinLaunch is currently considering four different states for potential launch sites within the United States.
Spinlaunch use large centrifuges to store energy and will then rapidly transfer that momentum into a catapult to send a payload to space at up to 4,800 kilometers per hour (3,000 mph). If successful, the acceleration architecture is projected to be both lower cost and use much less power, with the price of a single space launch reduced to under US$500,000.
SpinLaunch appears to be an evolution of the 1997 Derek Tidman Slingatron proposal. It is best suited to launch bulk materials such as water, fuel, building materials, radiation shielding, g-load-hardened satellites, etc. into orbit. It cannot launch people or very delicate equipment due to high acceleration (g) loads experienced during the launch cycle.
“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 electricity. Applying the initial performance boost from a terrestrial-based launch platform enables us to lower the cost by orders of magnitude and launch many times per day,” stated CEO Jonathan Yaney.
Wen Hsieh, General Partner at Kleiner Perkins, remarked: “We are very intrigued by SpinLaunch’s innovative use of rotational kinetic energy to revolutionize the smallsat market. SpinLaunch can be powered by renewable energy sources such as solar and wind, thereby eliminating the use of toxic and dangerous rocket fuels. SpinLaunch’s unique and proprietary approach to place satellites into low earth orbit is not only highly cost-efficient, but also safe and green.”
CEO of Airbus Ventures, Thomas d’Halluin, stated: “As investors in the system of systems that can rapidly accelerate humanity’s ascent of the vertical axis, from the ground to orbit to deep space, we see SpinLaunch as emblematic of everything we hope our portfolio companies can achieve, with innovations that will drive whole new markets in the aerospace business. Fast evolution in component miniaturization, imaging technologies and data processing have enabled a wholesale transformation in the space communications and Earth observation markets, with cost-efficient smallsat constellations now credibly ready to take on the traditional big satellite buses. With its game-changing technology set to forever alter how we think about the limits of gravity itself, this is the trillion-dollar industry that SpinLaunch now uniquely empowers.”
Launched as Google Ventures in 2009, GV is the venture capital arm of Alphabet, Inc., which has invested in more than 300 companies that push the edge of what’s possible. GV Partner Shaun Maguire noted that: “SpinLaunch has the potential to be highly disruptive for launching small and medium sized payloads, and is uniquely positioned against traditional rocket based methods for space launch. The company’s cost-effective approach will enable the expansion of space-based telecommunications constellations in a way that has never been possible before.”
SpinLaunch was founded 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, construction, hardware, and enterprise software industries.