Jun 15, 2018

Airbus and Alphabet invest in "space catapult" startup

Dan Primack, author of Pro Rata

Photo by Time Life Pictures/NASA/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

SpinLaunch, a Silicon Valley-based developer of space catapults, raised $35 million from Kleiner Perkins and venture capital affiliates of Airbus and Google parent Alphabet. It previously raised $5 million.

What? Yes, space catapults. The kind that could sit on earth and basically fling satellites into orbit without using rocket fuel, thus significantly increasing payload capacity.

SpinLaunch also is set to receive $25 million via a special purpose bond issuance by Hawaii, despite some resident objections to the prospect of megaton pieces of metal being chucked over their homes.

Go deeper with Bloomberg's Ashlee Vance:

"Why would anyone do such a thing? Well, [founder Jonathan] Yaney is trying to work around the limits that physics have placed on the rocket launch industry for decades. To overcome gravity and Earth’s atmosphere, rockets must be almost perfectly engineered and, even then, can only push a relatively small payload into space. The items carried on a typical rocket, for example, make up less than 5 percent of the rocket’s mass, with the rest going toward fuel and the rocket’s body."

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Coronavirus hospitalizations keep falling

Data: COVID Tracking Project, Harvard Global Health Institute; Note: Alabama, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska, Tennessee and Puerto Rico have not reported hospitalizations consistently. Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The number of people hospitalized with COVID-19 continues to decline, particularly in New York and other northeastern states that were among the hardest hit by the virus.

Yes, but: Some states are still recording stagnant or rising amounts of hospitalizations.

Updates: George Floyd protests continue past curfews

Protesters on Tuesday evening by the metal fence recently erected outside the White House. Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

Largely peaceful protests over the death of George Floyd and other police-related killings of black people continued Tuesday night across the U.S. for the eighth consecutive day.

The latest: Protesters were out en masse after curfews were in force in areas including Washington, D.C., New York City, Los Angeles and Portland — one of the cities where there was a late-night flash-point between police and protesters.

Primary elections test impact of protests, coronavirus on voting

Election official at a polling place at McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C. Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

In the midst of a global pandemic and national protests over the death of George Floyd, eight states and the District of Columbia held primary elections on Tuesday.

Why it matters: Joe Biden, the presumptive Democratic nominee, needs to win 425 of the 479 delegates up for grabs in order to officially clinch the nomination. There are a number of key down-ballot races throughout the country as well, including a primary in Iowa that could determine the fate of Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa).