US firm plans to slingshot objects into space

Washington, July 31 : A company from Virginia is developing an alternative transportation system to send small payloads and bulk cargo, like water or fuel, into space.

Rather than chemical rockets, HyperV Technologies Corp., proposes to slingshot objects off the planet, Discovery News reported.

The company's so-called "Slingatron" is using a spiral-shaped steel track that accelerates a payload with gyrating, hula hoop-like motions.

HyperV president and chief scientist Doug Witherspoon said that at about 60 cycles per second and precision timing, a payload traveling along the inside of the spiral will synchronize with the hula hoop-motion and continue accelerating.

The firm last week launched a 250,000-dollar fundraising initiative to build its third Slingaton prototype.

The machine would have a five-meter diameter spiral track that theoretically could get a 1-pound payload moving along at 1 kilometer per second (0.62 miles per second.)

To get into low-Earth orbit, such as where the International Space Station flies, an object needs to be moving at about 7.6 kilometers per second (4.7 miles per second.)

For its demonstration run, HyperV intends to use a quarter-pound payload.

Slingatrons would not replace traditional chemical rockets. For starters, acceleration at launch would reach thousands the times of Earth's gravitational force - far too high for launching humans.

--ANI (Posted on 31-07-2013)

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