Rail gun or space cannon to launch to Orbit

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EarthlingX

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Astro_Robert":373czpr9 said:
Earlier Earthling referenced a possible railgun system used as a Navy artillery weapon. There are actually other applications that have been in development, which does tend to lend credence to the idea that some sort of rail launch assist could be feasible.

Specifically, some years ago a small company developed this technology for small arms fire. Metal Storm, stacks projectiles in a barrel and can fire them at increadibly high rate not achievable with chemical systems. They have been trying to sell it to the US-Navy for a number of years.

http://www.metalstorm.com/component/option,com_frontpage/Itemid,79/

It not directly related to launch, but does indicate the general basis of the technology.
Wow, quite impressive :)

I'll drop in a direct link, for the future reference :

http://www.metalstorm.com : FireStorm
FireStorm has successfully demonstrated its capabilities under separate contracts for the U.S. Navy and U.S. Army. Recent demonstrations have proven the system capable of delivering High Explosive (HE) and a range of less lethal munitions. FireStorm brings the operational community a total force continuum application.
I like the 'demonstrated' part.
 
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EarthlingX

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www.navair.navy.mil : EMALS Readies for Launch with Super Hornet
23-Sep-10

NAVAL AIR SYSTEMS COMMAND, PATUXENT RIVER, Md. – The Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) completed catapult commissioning testing for its system functional demonstration at NAVAIR Lakehurst, N.J., last week.

“The team has successfully completed no-load and dead-load launches in all areas of the required performance envelope,” said Capt. James Donnelly, Aircraft Launch and Recovery Equipment program manager. “The program’s test performance and data supports moving from SFD commissioning to full SFD testing.”

Among the test points accomplished, the team recently completed a 154-knot dead-load launch equivalent to the weight of an F/A-18E Super Hornet, the first platform to be launched by EMALS scheduled this fall.
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Wiki : Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System
Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) is a system under development by the United States Navy to launch aircraft from carriers using a linear motor drive instead of steam pistons used in conventional aircraft catapults. This technology reduces stress on airframes because they can be accelerated more gradually to takeoff speed than steam-powered catapults. EMALS also uses less fresh water, reducing the need for energy-intensive desalinization.
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