These companies are considering using rockets to transport military cargo

So far, companies tapped to join the military to explore ways to bring that idea to life include Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Jeff Bezos’ Blue Origin, and most recently Rocket Lab. Tuesday’s press release.

Essentially, Lineup is a heavyweight in the commercial “new space” sector, a relatively young rocket company that’s already rocking the business of putting satellites into orbit at cheaper prices.

But these deals with the military are something else. Instead of rockets leaving cargo in Earth’s orbit, the program uses rockets to move weapons, goods, or perhaps people from one country to another at speeds far exceeding other types of transportation. intended to be carried to

Rockets are faster than planes. A rocket that can be launched into the upper atmosphere passes much less air as it zooms over the planet. With less air to pull them back, they can go much faster than those that need air to move like jets. As a trade-off, however, rockets tend to be much more expensive than aircraft.

“Imagine traveling from the continental United States to anywhere in the Pacific and measuring transit time in minutes.” press release From the US Transport Command of the Army. “Imagine the United States providing assistance to an ally in need of disaster relief, or fighting an enemy planning provocative actions against our national interests.”

This is similar to the idea of ​​intercontinental ballistic missiles that the world’s largest militaries have employed for decades. But while they are designed to crash into Earth at hypersonic speed once they reach their target, the idea here is for the payload to land gently.

The contract belongs to a program headed by the Air Force Research Laboratory and simply states “rocket cargo’ And that’s one of the Air Force divisions. Four “Vanguard Programs” This is a high profile project pinned to accelerate development.
Army investment in current programs ‘small’, according to May issue statement The goal, from Deputy Air Force Secretary Kristen Baldwin, is for the military to “influence early commercial design efforts and leverage $5 billion to $10 billion of ongoing industry and NASA investment.”
The idea of ​​using rockets for point-to-point travel on Earth is not new.For example, SpaceX has announced that its upcoming Starship rocket will Used to shuttle paying customers from 40 minutes from New York to Shanghai.
For consumers, that option is still a long way off. And broadly speaking, a rocket that makes a point-to-point trip is still a distant goal. (After all, there aren’t many compelling reasons to move people or cargo from one place to another at breakneck speed.) Markets for Hypersonic Passenger Travel Could be a $20 billion a year industryUBS estimated in 2019.

And the military’s goals for the Rocket Cargo Program, first announced last year, are early on in such efforts, with the hope that the technology will work quickly for the United States and our allies when it becomes available. It’s about getting involved.

“Logistics speed is at the heart of any military advantage. If a commercial company is developing new capabilities to move goods faster, [the Department of Defense] of the program website.
Meanwhile, Rocket Lab plans to use its new military contract to explore ways to use its Electron rockets. Air captured by helicopter after launch — not only to shuttle cargo around the Earth, but also a larger, upcoming rocket called the Neutron.
Additionally, the company would like to explore ways to use Photon spacecraft to set up “cargo depots” in Earth orbit. press release.


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