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Many advances in electromagnetic (EM) railgun and power supply technology have been made in recent years. Laboratory experiments with railguns have demonstrated muzzle velocities of 2-3 km/s and muzzle energies >8 MJ. The extension of this technology to the muzzle velocities (/spl ges/7500 m/s) and energies (/spl ges/10 GJ) needed for the direct launch of payloads into orbit is very challenging, but may not be impossible. For launch to orbit, even long launchers (>1000 m) would need to operate at accelerations >1000 gees to reach the required velocities, so that it would only be possible to launch rugged payloads, such as fuel, water, and material. A railgun system concept is described here and technology development issues are identified. Estimated launch costs could be attractively low (<$600/kg) compared with the Space Shuttle (>$20 000/kg), provided that acceptable launch rates can be achieved. Further evaluations are needed to establish the technical and economic feasibility with confidence.