In the constant search for low-cost spaceflight, Norwegian startup Ripple Aerospace has come up with a unique solution: How about we just get rid of, like, the land? Their plan calls for reusable cargo rockets to be built in shipyards, transported to open ocean, and launched from the sea, without so much as a floating launch pad to get in the way of the rocket’s journey from ocean to space.
Now Innovation Norway, the Norwegian government’s official funding source for new startups, has reportedly awarded Ripple Aerospace a grant of unknown size to support the company’s launch system development. The company’s plans call for a test launch sometime next year of a rocket big enough to carry a small dog into space — which we can only hope is mentioned for the sake of size comparison and not an actual plan, as surely the Soviets already learned all there was to find out on that particular front.
While the company itself is headquartered in Norway, the design would launch rockets from near the equator, much like how the European Space Agency’s Ariane rockets launch from French Guiana in South America. The proximity to the equator lets rockets get extra launch velocity from the Earth’s increased rotational speed. Here’s a short video detailing how the launch system would work. Any rocket launch system that prominently involves a tugboat can’t be all bad.