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Colt
2003-Mar-31, 08:47 AM
I was looking at some stuff about Jules Verne earlier and it mentioned his story about the space gun so I decided to start a thread on such a things feasibility.

Is it at all possible that we could construct a cannon which could propel a spacecraft with an astronaut into LEO? I know that the impact of the initial blast and G-forces would be massive but is there a way that we might get around this?

If not a living occupant, what is stopping us from using something like this to launch satellites into orbit? It would be much cheaper and easier to design than using a rocket (or the Orbiter as a ferry). I remember reading something about Saddam's Idiot Gun would be capable (if aligned and charged properly) of throwing an object into LEO and it was a weapon, something not designed for this. -Colt

kucharek
2003-Mar-31, 09:07 AM
You like stuff that shoots and bangs, don't you ;-)


Is it at all possible that we could construct a cannon which could propel a spacecraft with an astronaut into LEO? I know that the impact of the initial blast and G-forces would be massive but is there a way that we might get around this?

Only if you can cancel inertia somehow. But if you can do this, I guess there are better methods to get into space.



If not a living occupant, what is stopping us from using something like this to launch satellites into orbit? It would be much cheaper and easier to design than using a rocket (or the Orbiter as a ferry). I remember reading something about Saddam's Idiot Gun would be capable (if aligned and charged properly) of throwing an object into LEO and it was a weapon, something not designed for this. -Colt
It seems to be feasible, but the problem is, that the payload must be pretty shock-resistant. Maybe it's a good method to launch simple, heavy things (maybe just iceblocks for the water supply of some space-station), but though today we have guided weapons shot from cannons, I guess the delicate electronics of a scientific satellite is somewhat different.

Harald

tvelocity
2003-Mar-31, 09:27 AM
Well, first you would have to decide on a reasonable acceleration to reach escape velocity, which is 11.2 km/s. Lets say three G's, or 29.4 m/s^2. Using a standard distance as a function of acceleration equation, your gun would need a barrel about 2100 kilometers long. Quite an engineering challenge! If you use the theoretical physiological limit of 9 G's you can shrink this barrel to about 700 kilometers. Of course this means that your astronauts would experience 9 G's for two minutes. :o Ouch! Of course for non-living payloads the acceleration can be upped considerably. Even rugged electronic equipment can't stand more than about 300 G's. This brings the barrel down to about 21 km. Now the Army uses GPS-guided artillery shells, in which the electronics have to withstand about 15,000 G's while being fired. This gives a gun barrel length of about 426 meters, still pretty big. You can see the technical hurdles to reaching escape velocity by any means. Anyone want to check my numbers?

Fra Mauro
2003-Mar-31, 03:44 PM
I remember seeing a discovery channel special about 10 years ago about a fellow named Bull who at one time had proposed a "space gun".

This site here:

http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/iraq/other/supergun.htm

Has some information about Bull and the gun he built for Iraqi, here is the first paragraph of the article;

“Early in the war with Iran, the Iraqi government engaged world- renowned artillery expert Gerald V. Bull, whose lifetime obsession was a the construction of a "Supergun," a huge howitzer able to fire satellites into space or launch artillery shells thousands of miles into enemy territory. While he did not accomplish that dream, Bull did manage to design some of the most effective artillery pieces in the world.”

IIRC Bull did propose creating a space gun to the American government before he severed ties with them. Also IIRC, the American’s didn’t believe he could create a space gun and that Bull was just looking for money to develop his artillery weapon.

Also form the above article;

“Under Project Babylon, Bull extended his HARP gun design to build the barrel in segments, with a total length of 512 feet. The gun would be able to fire 600 kg projectile to a range of 1,000 kilometers, or a 2,000 kg rocket-assisted projectile into orbit.”

How true all of this is I don’t know, but I did see film of the gun in Iraq after the Gulf war.

g99
2003-Mar-31, 03:55 PM
Saddam's gun was real, but it was fixed in place ancd could not move. I think the most it could do was rotate a few degrtees and change angle. But it was never completed. Important barrel sections were confiscated once they found out who the barrels were for. It was never finished. Most likely it is a big crater now.

kilopi
2003-Mar-31, 04:45 PM
Anyone want to check my numbers?
Passes first blush. Never thought about it--so, the shuttle launches have to continue to burn long after they are at orbital altitude?

Alan
2003-Mar-31, 05:04 PM
A Brief History of the HARP Project

http://www.astronautix.com/articles/abroject.htm

Colt
2003-Mar-31, 07:11 PM
Saddam's gun would be fixed in place on the side of a mountain (with probably a small degree of movement, but over distance this can be pretty big). After a few potshots at Israel it would have been easily destroyed but those potshots could have been NBC rounds.

Maybe a pusher plate (with shocks) from Orion (http://www.socorro.demon.co.uk/orion.htm) would work? -Colt

g99
2003-Mar-31, 09:00 PM
Saddam's gun would be fixed in place on the side of a mountain (with probably a small degree of movement, but over distance this can be pretty big). After a few potshots at Israel it would have been easily destroyed but those potshots could have been NBC rounds.
-Colt

(emphasis mine)

NBC rounds? So please tell me he was going to use Katie Couric. Please! :D

If i remeber correctly it was pointed towards Israel and it was partially dug into the ground behind a fortified hill. Not on a mountain.

daver
2003-Mar-31, 09:35 PM
I was looking at some stuff about Jules Verne earlier and it mentioned his story about the space gun so I decided to start a thread on such a things feasibility.


Hmm. Which space gun? From the Earth to the Moon had a space cannon to launch the moon mission, a much later story had an intercontinental canon built i think along the Oregon coast.

RafaelAustin
2003-Mar-31, 09:51 PM
Here's an interesting article about the Jules Verne Launcher Co. (http://popularmechanics.com/science/space/1996/12/jules_verne_gun/print.phtml) using gas-powered launchers as an effective and inexpensive way of propelling satellites into orbit.


The effort produced a 10-ft.-long gas gun that achieved a firing velocity of 5 miles per second.

"[That] still exceeds the velocity record for any rail gun ever built," Hunter says. "Gas guns routinely achieve 5 miles per second. That's what's so phenomenal about them. The beauty is that to access space, 4.35 miles per second is where the action really gets hot and heavy. At 4.35 miles per second, you can launch a 10-ton vehicle and get 33% fraction into LEO [low Earth orbit]. If you start with 11 tons, you're going to have 7275 pounds in LEO."

Rue
2003-Apr-01, 02:17 PM
Gerald Bull from the HARP project also developed the G-6 or Kalahari ferrari (http://www.army.fr.pl/uzbr/g6/g6(10).jpg) for the South African military. So called because it could reach 65 kph. It has a 155 mm cannon with about a 32 km range. Of course not capable of LEO but one of the largest mobile cannons.