Gerald Bull

Gerald Vincent Bull, scientist (born 9 March 1928 in at North Bay, ON; died 22 March 1990 in Brussels, Belgium).

Bull, Gerald
Gerald Bull developed a means to launch satellites with artillery (artwork by Irma Coucill).

Gerald Vincent Bull, scientist (born 9 March 1928 in at North Bay, ON; died 22 March 1990 in Brussels, Belgium). Orphaned at age three, Bull displayed scientific brilliance early and earned a PhD in aerodynamics at only 23. He worked for the Defence Research Board at Valcartier, near Quebec City, 1950-64, specializing in the development of guns to shoot instrument packages into the upper atmosphere and beyond. (In the early years of space technology, rockets were both unreliable and too expensive for most countries to develop.)

Bull's High Altitude Research Project (HARP) was transferred from the DRB to McGill in 1964. Bull installed a giant 16-inch (407 mm) cannon (made of US naval guns fastened end to end) on Barbados and developed production workshops near Highwater, Quebec. When Canadian and US government support ended, he formed the Space Research Corp in 1971 to continue HARP, funded by offering scientific services to countries unable to afford national space programs and by selling the products of SRC's special workshops. These products extended to shells for 155 mm artillery. (Bull had earlier designed a cannon shell shape that offered significant advantages over conventional designs.)

In 1980 Bull was convicted in US courts of exporting munitions to the Republic of South Africa, contrary to the UN arms embargo, and was sentenced to 6 months in prison. SRC was declared bankrupt and liquidated. After his release in 1981 he moved to Europe, where he re-established the company as a consulting firm. At the time of his death he was working on long-range artillery which would give Iraq the capability of delivering fire into Israel. He was gunned down at his apartment.