Photostory #345: Canadian University's Unique Research Project: Scientific Space Shots in Balmy Barbados
National Film Board of Canada
August 27, 1963
Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography fonds, National Gallery of Canada Library and Archives
Punching high into the blue Caribbean sky, test shots by the High Altitude Research Project of Montreal's McGill University are proving the value of a new space-research tool -- the large-calibre bombardment gun. Modified to fire instrument-carrying, streamlined projectiles which weigh but a fraction of the normal one-ton combat shell, the Canadian university team's research weapon is lobbing gleaming, finned bullets up to heights of 70 miles. After installing a 16-inch ex-naval gun on a sun-drenched beach on the coast of Barbados in the West Indies, the space researchers fired six test slugs early this year followed by a series of Martlet space-projectile shots. The aerodynamic Martlet, designed by McGill staff members, is opening a new window on high-altitude and outer-space research. For a fraction of the cost of ground-fired rocket packages, the Martlet provides a compact instrument container that can be fired to specific parts of the earth's outer reaches with rifle-shot accuracy. Canada's university team of scientists and engineers is exploring an exciting aspect of space technology -- using the energy that comes from the crash of big guns.