The Lancaster Space Gun Project

Project Overview and Motivation

Lancaster Engineering is evaluating the feasibility of launching certain materials into orbit using a gun rather than rockets. They are motivated by the waste and cost of fuel that is required by rockets to propel both not just the payload but the rocket machinery, the fuel itself, the containers and so on.

Knowledge 4 Strength have teamed up with Lancaster Engineering to produce the white paper ‘The Lancaster Space Gun.’ This white paper considers the outline feasibility of a ground-based gun that delivers sufficient muzzle velocity to its ammunition for it to reach at least low earth orbit. The paper identifies and answers ‘edge’ case questions that will help to bound and test the feasibility. For example we can calculate the ideal velocity to reach low earth orbit and from this the minimum energy required. That energy figure provides a bounding value; all actual energy requirements in practice will need to be higher. If there are any feasibility issues with delivering this minimum energy, then we know the gun is not feasible.