Last year I blogged about NASA’s incredibly powerful hybrid/air gun used for simulating impacts from meteor and space debris. Quicklaunch is taking the concept even further. PopSci reports on their proposed cannon which could be used to launch fuel, supplies and satellites into space.
The Quicklaunch cannon would float at sea at the equator. The proposed firing system works by burning natural gas inside a heat exchanger. The heat from the burning natural gas is used to heat hydrogen gas. The hydrogen gas expands quickly and pushes the projectile out of the barrel. Release valves prevent over pressure inside the barrel. There is a photo at the PopSci website.
The idea of launching objects into space from a cannon is not new. In the 1960s Canada and the United States attempted to develop a Space Gun as part of the High Altitude Research (HARP) Project. The most infamous attempt at building a Space Gun was Saddam Hussein’s Babylon Project which fortunately never came to fruition before the project was dismantled following the fist Gulf War.
[ Many thanks to root for emailing me the link. ]