Jan 16 2010Where's My Crash Helmet?: Man Proposes Shooting Supplies Into Space With A Cannon


John Hunter is a man with a dream. And while most men dream of supermodel orgies (don't lie), John dreams of shooting shit into space with a cannon. Me too, John, me too. PSSSHOOOOOOOOW!!

John Hunter wants to shoot stuff into space with a 3,600-foot gun. And he's dead serious--he's done the math. Making deliveries to an orbital outpost on a rocket costs $5,000 per pound, but using a space gun would cost just $250 per pound.

How to Shoot Stuff into Space
The gun combusts natural gas in a heat exchanger within a
chamber of hydrogen gas, heating the hydrogen to 2,600˚F and causing a 500 percent increase in pressure.


Operators open the valve, and the hot, pressurized hydrogen quickly expands down the tube, pushing the payload forward.


After speeding down the 3,300-foot-long barrel, the projectile shoots out of the gun at 13,000 mph. An iris at the end of the gun closes, capturing the hydrogen gas to use again.

That's all well and good, John, but the real question is this: can a human being survive the launch? And by "human being" I mean me. You think I won't shoot myself out of your space cannon, John? Because I 100% will. Sans helmet. You really think a helmet's gonna save you if a space cannon launch goes wrong? Because it's not. A trampoline sure, but not a helmet.

A Cannon for Shooting Supplies into Space [popsci]

Thanks to Lee, who's currently orbiting the earth from a comfy 22,236 miles out. Let me know if we need to shoot more beer.

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Reader Comments


2nd! i dont like the cannon idea

So freaking cool



Worlds Largest Spudgun FTW!!!

FINALLY! a economic way to shoot homeless people into the sun!! No more urban campers (politically correct term for sub human hobo creepers) in our cities!

If anyone actually fallows space tech the space gun is a really old idea
First publicly mentioned byJules Gabriel Verne is his book " From the Earth to the Moon".

The space gun has beeen under development since the end of WW2. A while ago it lost funding due to being inporactical. However with new ideas the space gun has finally found a new life.

So shoot the moon.

just looking at the logistics of the structure....

...and i'm pretty sure it would just sink.

@jp - I'd think so do. That's a whole lot of force being generated considering the cannon's attached to a buoy. But he says he's done the math....

Whatever you were launching would have to be sturdy. That's a lot of force from 0 to 13,000 mph.

@9 It's not going to sink. Think about it. If that gun is 3,600 ft long, then proportionately that buoy is gigantic. And the only weight being held up is the cannon part, the circles around it are extra support.

Hopefully one day with this I'll become a real star! :3

This was done in Final Fantasy XIII with humans, i liked the idea too. Your dreams of launching in this canon might not not be far from reality

Sadly, no humans in this thing, over 5,000g's are exerted on whatever is being launched.


Heres your crash helmet, thank god you have me, gw.

What if it hit a pigeon or something on the way up? wouldn't that alter the trajectory and then make your package end up in china with a dead pigeon or something?

@ 17

It's going at 13,000 Mph, that's like saying a rocket hitting a pigeon would be effected.

Wouldn't it be better to build this at the top of a very tall mountain on the equator? Or hang it from a high altitude balloon?

And just how loud is this cannon? Will it scare the horses as it shoots it load in the moon's face?

Umm, yes, it could work. No, you would not survive the acceleration of the launch.

The nice thing about this design, compared to other rail gun space launchers is the choice of fuel (natural gas is the most abundant and easiest refined fuel currently produced+ huge reserves in the ocean) also the benifit of built in shock/heat absorber in the ocean. all in all, a pretty technically efficient system compared to other proposed launchers

@21 that is true, still dumb they want to use combustion, but i guess it would be better to use natural gas than all that rocket fuel it takes to lift the shuttles.

Gerald Bull already thought of this.

He didn't get funding from the US, took it overseas, and was then assassinated.


Haha, all I can think of is Final Fantasy VIII, where they shoot capsules with people and supplies into space with a giant revolver-like launcher.

Link to video of it:


The original idea is from this book

What "stuff" would be launched into space?

I like pancakes and pizza best, honest I do, I like all the flat things,
I didn't, but now we have the gun, everything is flat.

Science fiction is fiction. Gerald Bull had the plans and calculations drawn up, ready to go.

Stuff launched into space would be anything as simple as supplies for the international space station to a cheap method of launching satellites.

Think about it The Cannon snaps shut after a fire think if it shut too fast....

Iris Shuts - S*** hits the iris -S*** gets EFFED UP


This is how GW will get to work when he lands his dream job of driving the space tractor.

So, are there also plans for a giant net at the other end.. ?

When i die i'm going to have it in my will to be shot out of one of these.

First!!! oh damn nevermind.

It's a neat thought but what would it do to the ocean life when it fires? Have you ever seen crocodile dundee where he is fishing with dynamite? It kills all the fish.

correct me if i'm wrong guys, but doesn't 'burning up in the atmosphere' work both ways...seems to me this guy drew up the world's biggest flare gun...

@36 No it wont burn up, The space shuttle makes it out just fine.
@35 No it wont kill the fish. There is no actual explosion in the water. Its like a giant pellet gun. Hydrogen is heat up until super pressurized then released shooting the object out

Actualy while the explosion is contained in the gun the water would be an amazingly strong prasure wave conductore ( The ability of water to disapate the pressure is why it is being used instead of dry land) The prassure wave would dafinatly kill fish for miles around the cannon.

Very cool, the ocean would act as a noise (to humans) and heat insulator as well.

There's probably no control on what you launch, so you have to shoot it with exactly enough force for it to shoot into an orbit where it can be retrieved, but at the same time where it would not just fly out of orbit and into space.

All that gradeschool practice with spitwads is finally coming into its own.

Contact my office immediately. You have cases pending against you. Ignoring this matter will further damage your situation.

Figured a dead article would come in useful for this

You could still use the cannon to bury people at space

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