Project HARP Space Gun

A giant gun barrel in Barbados that once hoped to shoot outer space with science


Not to be confused with the conspiracy factory known as Project HAARP (High-Frequency Active Aural Research Program), Project HARP (High Altitude Research Project) was a joint initiative between the United States and Canada to research the use of ballistics to deliver objects into the upper atmosphere and beyond.

In lay terms, the HARP project was established to create a cartoonishly large gun to shoot things into space. Designed by mad ballistics engineer Gerald Bull, the gun itself was originally built from a 65-foot long, 16" naval cannon, the kind that might be seen on a battleship. The cannon was later joined to another barrel, extending the length of the gun to 130 feet and making it too big for effective military application, but (seemingly) perfect for satellite delivery. The titanic gun was not designed for delivering human subjects, but instead the cannon fired smaller projectiles in a sabot that would protect the payload during the firing and would fall away as the satellite rose. At its apex, the gun was able to fire an object a staggering 112 miles into the sky, setting the 1963 world record for gun-launched altitude at 93 KM.     

As the project continued, similar guns were built in locations across the United States, however the sole surviving fruit of the project is the massive, toppled gun barrel at the Barbados test site. The Barbados gun was abandoned in the late 1960s and left to rust on its original launch site and after years of neglect looks more like a painted sewer pipe than a Godzilla-size gun barrel.

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