Getting materials and people into orbit has always been an expensive proposition, one that's even costlier now that the Shuttle program has been retired. But one enterprising American inventor thinks he's got a solution: Space Cannons.
Designed and built by Richard Graf, the CEO (read: only employee) of Starfire Scientific Inc., the Starfire Space Cannon is a 45-foot long portable artillery system with an 8-inch bore designed to deliver payloads into orbit. However, unlike other spacegun concepts, the Star fire would detonate charges sequentially down the length of the muzzle, thereby reducing the G-loads experienced by its cargo. Obviously we're not going to be shooting people out of an 8-inch tube, but the reduced force of the launch should allow for more delicate equipment to be put into orbit than what other potential systems are capable of.