Why use all the fuel of a rocket when we can just fling satellites into space? It seems like a question from a curious first grader, but there are people working on doing just that.
A company called SpinLaunch has an electric-powered centrifuge with a vacuum chamber. The idea is to put objects such as satellites into the vacuum chamber, spin them at up to 5000 miles per hour, and then launch them through a tube toward space. Tests so far have been launching objects with a smaller-scale accelerator at 20% power, and they look promising.
The goal for a full-size centrifuge is to launch a 440-pound satellite into orbit. By the way, this will never be safe for human space travelers, but it will be safer for those on the ground by bypassing the ignition of explosive fossil fuels. Read about the space flinger in development at Gizmodo. -via Damn Interesting