LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LABORATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY LAWRENCE LIVERMORE NATIONAL LABORATORY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
New space launcher technology. This prototype 'gas gun', the Super High-Altitude Research Project (SHARP), is a concept for a cheap method of firing satellites into orbit. It consists of a pump tube (top) and a launch tube connected by a large chamber (left). The pump tube is filled with hydrogen gas, whilst the launch tube is evacuated. The detonation of a methane/air mixture at one end of the pump tube forces a piston along its length, pressurising the hydrogen to 4140 bar. This in turn causes the payload seal to fail and accelerates the 4.9kg projectile up to a speed of 4km per second at the end of the barrel.
Model release not required. Property release not required.