Dr. Gerald Bull: The High Altitude Research Project
Dr. Gerald Bull was like a figure in a spy novel, designing arms for some of the world's harshest regimes. With no shortage of possible enemies, he died at the hands of an unknown assassin. But the Canadian-born artillery expert was also a brilliant scientist with a dream: to launch a satellite with a giant gun.
. McGill already had two research stations on Barbados. It was an attractive location for HARP because of its unlimited fallout area over the ocean and its proximity to Cape Canaveral's radar-tracking systems.
. Barbados was happy to host HARP: it gave valuable work to over 60 of its most educated citizens; it provided much-needed foreign investment; and it had the potential to change the country's image from that of a Caribbean backwater to a player in the high-tech age.
. In 1968 Barbados issued a series of four postage stamps commemorating HARP.
. When HARP was still in the building stage, Canada successfully launched a satellite called the Alouette using a rocket.
. Bull's long-term goal for HARP was to create a low-cost method of launching small satellites into space. He calculated it could be done for one-fifth the cost of traditional methods.
. In 1966 Bull set a world record for shooting a Martlet 180 kilometres into the sky. The record would stand for more than 25 years.
. The Martlet was loaded into the gun encased in a four-piece wood sabot which fell away when the projectile left the barrel. The sabot kept the missile in place as it travelled through the 21-metre-long gun.
. Other HARP testing was conducted at a compound Bull had set up near Highwater, Qué. on the Vermont border.
. In 1967 the Canadian government stopped funding the project, citing concerns about the drawbacks of a gun-launch system. The U.S. Army dropped out soon after because of their growing focus on the war in Vietnam. In 1968 the Bronfman family of Montreal stepped in and Bull created the Space Research Corporation with their backing. The Bronfmans soon withdrew but by then Bull had enough money to run the company on his own.
. Bull resigned from McGill in 1969 but continued to work on HARP in Barbados and at his Highwater compound until 1971.
. Bull's Martlet missile was named for the footless bird which makes up part of the McGill crest.
Program: CBC Newsmagazine
Broadcast Date: Jan. 30, 1963
Guest(s): Gerald Bull, General Clark
Host: Norman DePoe
Reporter: Kingsley Brown
Last updated: February 7, 2012
Page consulted on December 6, 2013
All Clips from this Topic
After working with wind tunnels in university, Gerald Bull is developi...
Gerald Bull, now a professor at McGill University, works with the U.S....
Gerald Bull's High Altitude Research Project is thrown into jeopardy.
The RCMP visits Bull's company headquarters after allegations of deali...
Gerald Bull's company is in receivership in Quebec and bankruptcy in t...
A small church in Quebec holds Bull's funeral after he is shot by an a...
A British journalist explains Bull's recent work and the reasons someo...
Giant tubes are found on their way to Iraq, and they're believed to be...
A CBC Television show uncovers compelling theories about who was behin...
A United Nations panel learns the truth about Gerald Bull's project in...
A committee tries to get to the bottom of the existence of Iraq's supe...
Dr. Gerald Bull was like a figure in a spy novel, designing arms for s...