State squashes plan for satellite catapult at Pohue Bay

HONOLULU — A California-based company will not be installing its proposed Hawaii satellite catapult at Pohue Bay on the southern tip of the Big Island.

The company, SpinLaunch Inc., wanted to launch satellites into space using a catapult.


But after community opposition, a Senate committee changed wording of a special revenue bond that would have allowed the project to be built at the bay, Hawaii News Now reported Saturday.

The project can now be housed at an unspecified area other than the bay.

Democrat Sen. Glenn Wakai, D-Oahu, toured their facility and said catapult technology is an eco-friendly alternative to traditional launch techniques. Wakai said he still believes Hawaii can play host to the technology, just not at Pohue Bay.

“This is one of those areas where Hawaii really should take advantage of our location and then bring in good quality jobs,” he said. “I heard from the people in Ka’u. I don’t want to give residents the impression that any future launch site was destined for their neighborhood.”


Demand for facilities such as the proposed satellite catapult is high, Hawaii News Now reported. There are 10,000 small satellites waiting to be launched, the TV station reported.

Lawmakers said such demand could bring anywhere from $10 million to $15 million to the state per launch.

  1. diverdave April 2, 2018 12:07 pm

    Once again we run off anyone wanting to invest in any project that could be a win win for Hawaii.

    1. KonaDude April 3, 2018 3:15 am

      You are under the impression people really want jobs. They just want to complain about wages and not having a jobs. Most will chase away any good opportunities if it means they will have to work.

      1. KonaRich April 3, 2018 8:22 am

        Where is the educational opportunities in Hawaii to teach the sciences & engineering (high school or collage) to qualify the young people here for these types of jobs. NO where to be found is the answer.

  2. KonaRich April 2, 2018 6:44 pm

    The company, “spin launch” is a start up, started in 2014 has only raised 10m up til now and wants to raise 30m, now the Hawaii state Senate has offer 25m in “bonds” to help the startup build their launch system. Now if they should do that and the bonds get bought up and if this startup company should go broke (heaven forbid) the tax payers of Hawaii are still on the hook for 25m plus interest. Every tax paying person in hawaii right now is on the hook for -27k already. look at state data lab Hawaii. Found spin launch on “the hustle co”. and do you ever think the government would stop at 25m? Think Honolulu 3.5B rail.

  3. jim williams April 3, 2018 1:01 am

    If the company can come to the table with the funds to guarantee purchasing land, construction and operations for a set period of time then they should be allowed to do business. ALL zoning laws would apply.

  4. Big ideas April 3, 2018 6:09 am

    Anti business forces insure local kids exit to the Mainland for jobs and a future! Come back for Uncle and Auntie;s funeral if possible.

  5. antifaHI April 3, 2018 8:31 am

    Any idea why to bring a sophisticated tech operation to such a remote location? There are no real roads, power supplies, fresh water access, housing, etc. And it’s on a remote island. Heck, it’s even an earth quake zone 2!!

    Sounds to me like an investor scam.

    1. TheobromaCacao April 4, 2018 5:41 am

      I’m guessing orbital mechanics. The farther south you get, the more you can take advantage of earth’s spin to help you boost into orbit.

      1. antifaHI April 4, 2018 7:08 am

        Thought of that. But the zero infrastructure would weigh heavier in planning than a hundred miles north with plenty more opportunities.

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