Al-Fao Supergun

Constructed starting in 1918, the Al-Fao Supergun (a.k.a. "Border-crashers", "Al-Faos") is considered one of the deadliest heavy arms in most nations arsenals. With 26 six-meter-long sections make up the barrel, totalling 1510 tonnes. Added to this are be four 220-ton recoil cylinders, and the 165 tonne breech. The recoil force of the gun would be 27,000-tons - equivalent to a nuclear bomb and sufficient to register as a major seismic event all around the world. Nine tons of special supergun propellant can fire a 600 kg projectile over a range of 1,000 km, or a 2,000 kg rocket-assisted projectile. The 2,000 kg projectile can place a net payload of about 200 kg into orbit at a cost of $ 600 per kg.

The Al-Fao Supergun by itself, is not capable of placing objects into stable orbit. The laws of gravitation make it impossible to reach a stable orbit without an active payload which performs orbital correction burns to change the shape of its orbit after launch. The orbit is a parabolic orbit, a hyperbolic orbit, or part of an elliptic orbit which ends at the planet's surface at the point of launch or another point. This means that an uncorrected ballistic payload will always strike the planet within its first orbit unless the velocity was so high as to reach or exceed escape velocity.


As a result, all payloads intended to reach a closed orbit would have to perform some sort of course correction to create another orbit that does not intersect the planet's surface. The amount of fuel carried would thus reduce the payload-to-fuel ratio, decreasing the efficiency and increasing the complexity of such a system. It is conceivable that in a multi-body gravitational system, like the earth-moon system, that a trajectory could be found that does not re-intersect the earth's surface, although these paths would likely not be very simple nor desirable, and would require much more energy.

Atmospheric drag also makes it more difficult to control the trajectory of any projectile launched, subjects the projectile to extremely high forces, and causes severe energy losses that may not be easily overcome. An Al-Fao Supergun with a "gun barrel" reaching above the lower troposphere, where the atmosphere is most densely packed, may mitigate the issue.


Al-Fao, Mk.-1 (1918)

Launch data is: complete. Payload: 10 kg (22 lb). to a: 76 km altitude suborbital trajectory. Core Diameter: 0.13 m (0.42 ft). Total Length: 1.16 m (3.80 ft). Cost comments: Price $ 400 per launch.


Al Fao, Mk.-2 (1922)

Payload: 18 kg (39 lb). to a: 105 km altitude suborbital trajectory. Apogee: 50 km (31 mi). Liftoff Thrust: 0 N ( lbf). Core Diameter: 0.18 m (0.59 ft). Total Length: 1.41 m (4.62 ft).

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