The first industrial railgun has begun firing tests at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Virginia. With video.
Following a series of low-energy test shots, evaluation of the launcher is now underway and will see tests conducted at 20 megajoules to 32 megajoules – one megajoule is equivalent to a 1-ton object being thrust at 100 mph (161 km/h). Test projectiles similar to those previously fired from [the] laboratory’s launcher will be fired at speeds of 4,500 to 5,600 mph (7,242 to 9,012 km/h) using electricity instead of chemical propellants.
These speeds are a only little less than one third escape velocity. Pump this technology up a bit and you could have a cheap way to get simple supplies, such as fuel, water, oxygen, into orbit. In fact, one company is even trying to do it.