Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Space cannon for cheaper space launches

Our long time readers know that I have an interest in space travel. In fact Space Access 2010 is just around the corner!

One of the biggest barriers to space travel is money. It is very expensive. Current costs are around $5000 per pound, depending on how far you want to climb out of the gravity well.

John Hunter of Quicklaunch is proposing a space cannon. The basic idea has been kicked around for decades. One of his twists is putting it in the ocean, so it can be turned to launch payload into the orbit desired. The big draw back to a space cannon is the incredibly high acceleration. People would be squished flat. But it can launch tougher payloads and thus drop the overall cost for getting into space.

Space cannon to shoot payloads into orbit reports:

A physicist has proposed using a 1.1 km (3,600 ft) cannon to deliver cargo into orbit, and says the cost would be around $250 per pound, a massive saving on the $5,000 per pound ($2280 per kg) it currently costs to make deliveries using a rocket.

If you are interested in more detail, check out John Hunter's hour long presentation at Google.

Technorati tags: Quicklaunch, John Hunter, Space cannon


Eric Holcombe said...

"Current costs are around $5000 per pound..."

I heard a news broadcast today stating that the coin for the pre-game coin toss at the NFL Pro-Bowl had been on a shuttle mission. I was wondering how much we taxpayers had to shell out for that.

Henry Cate said...

I'm sure it was a pretty penny. :-)