Space gun idea revived

Steve Johnson
by Steve Johnson

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.

Barrel sections of Iraqi supergun Big Babylon at the Imperial War Museum

[ Many thanks to root for emailing me the link. ]

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

I founded TFB in 2007 and over 10 years worked tirelessly, with the help of my team, to build it up into the largest gun blog online. I retired as Editor in Chief in 2017. During my decade at TFB I was fortunate to work with the most amazing talented writers and genuinely good people!

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  • Sully Sully on Mar 27, 2010

    What we need is a viable way to transport nuclear waste off this rock, this may work but if it fails even if only once it becomes a huge and deadly artillery piece.

    Very cool nontheless.

    • JCitizen JCitizen on Jul 16, 2014

      @sully I've said that for years, but now,an inventor has found a way to use nuclear waste several times over - so it is too valuable to shoot to the moon! HA!

  • JCitizen JCitizen on Jul 16, 2014

    KEWL! All you gotta worry about is whether the payload can take the necessary 7 mile per second acceleration load!