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A Cannon for Shooting Supplies into Space.

The cost of putting things into space is astronomical, to say the least. Getting things into space takes more fuel than moving them from planet to planet because of gravity. So what if we had a new method for sending supplies into orbit for the International Space Station? John Hunter says he has a better idea: shoot supplies into space with a cannon! He say a space gun would bring the cost of launching a pound of supplies from $5,000 down to $250.

Hunter wants to operate the gun, the “Quicklauncher,” in the ocean near the equator, where the Earth’s fast rotation will help slingshot objects into space. A floating cannon—dipping 1,600 feet below sea level and steadied by a ballast system—would let operators swivel it for different orbits. Next month, Hunter will test a functional, 10-foot prototype in a water tank. He says a full-size launcher could be ready in seven years, provided the company can round up the $500 million. Despite the upfront cost, Hunter says he has drawn interest from investors because his reusable gun saves so much cash in the long haul. Just don’t ever expect a ride in the thing: The gun produces 5,000 Gs, so it’s only for fuel tanks and ruggedized satellites. “A person shot out of it would probably get compressed to half their size,” Hunter says. “It’d be over real quick.”

http://www.popsci.com/technology/article/2010-01/cannon-shooting-supplies-space

From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by McJohnny.


A rail gun would incinerate anything you're delivering. The friction and heat generated by the electricity used creates a plasma cloud when the projectile is launched (look up the youtube vid of the navy test, that huge "cloud" behind the projectile is plasma"
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Blogged about this the other day http://www.spacecoalition.com/blog/

Very cool idea. It would be great if it proved practical as anything that lets us get things into space cheaper is a good thing.

Of course, a space elevator would be even better, but failing that...
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In 1976/77, Gerard K. O'Neill and his students at MIT designed and built a mass driver, the precursor to the electromagnetic accelerator, capable of 1,800 gravities. His design, using switches and relays, could be used on Earth, the moon and in space. It was also not designed as a weapon but for completely peaceful purposes. The following links tell the story:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qe9Qm72YeqU

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_Driver_1 Gerard K. O'Neill of Princeton University (who was on sabbatical at MIT during the 1976-77 academic year)...was able to achieve an acceleration of around 30 g (300 m/s²).

http://www.viswiki.com/en/Mass_Driver_1 Constructed in 1976 and 1977, Mass Driver 1 was an early demonstration of the concept of the mass driver, a form of electromagnetic launcher

http://ssi.org/the-life-of-gerard-k-oneill/ Life of Gerard K. O’Neill
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so what kind of fuel tanks will be used and how will they operate. what if they explode. i think its not a bad idea but i do have a few questions.
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