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HARP Overview
 
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HARP Overview

Launch cannons are a proven, robust technology that has already been implemented in the past, and shown to be cost-effective solutions to space access.

16" bore extended HARP Cannon on BarbedosThe HARP project extended roughly a decade from 1959 to 1969, as a means to explore the applications of large-bore gun technology to high-altitude atmospheric studies and space research. During the entire duration of the HARP project it received less than 10 million US dollars worth of support, and faced constant harsh criticism, and political opposition. Despite the limited support and political obstacles (not only from his own supporting university, but from both the Canadian and U.S. governments), Bull and his team achieved incredible results -- starting with 5" to 8" surplus guns from the U.S. Army, and later utilizing surplus 16" cannon from the U.S. Navy, they developed systems that were capable of putting decent payloads into just about any desired orbit. Despite the constant, impressive progress of the HARP research team (or perhaps because of it), project support was terminated for no good reason -- leaving completed delivery systems unused (ready for low-earth orbit insertions), and leaving even more capable systems (that could implement almost any desired orbital insertion) unfinished.

The short-sighted envy & political infighting that led to the termination of the HARP program is a real shame -- resulting in decades of lost opportunity for inexpensive space access *, and indirectly leading to the premature final demise of Dr. Bull. It's time to resurrect this robust, cost-effective launch system and put the ideas and technology to good use.

Below are links to some images from the HARP program (taken from "Paris Kanonen -- the Paris Guns (Wilhelmgeschutze) and Project HARP", G.V. Bull & C.H. Murphy © 1988 Verlag).

Fig 3Fig 4a-d Fig 14a-bFig 14c-eFig 22dFig 35Fig 36 & 37Fig 38bFig 46-47Fig 53bFig 55

* By inexpensive, we mean prices around $100/lb. Dr. Bull went so far as to brag that it should be possible to bring the cost down to around $10/lb. in a high volume operation.


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