US Army Rocket Cargo Programs such as SpaceX Starship

The Starship Prototype SN10 launches three Raptor engines on landing.


The U.S. Air Force said Friday that it is expanding a small development program that wants to quickly deliver cargo anywhere in the world, leveraging reusable rockets like SpaceX is building.

An experimental military program called Rocket Cargo will be led by the US Space Force, the Pentagon said. The program features features such as “rocket landing on a variety of non-traditional materials and surfaces”, engineering “rocket cargo compartment and logistics for rapid loading and unloading”, and aerial dropping “rocket cargo”. Supports research and development After re-entry to serve places where rockets and aircraft cannot land. “

Air Force 2022 Budget Demands Rocket Cargo for about $ 50 million To continue working on the research concept that began last year with a small contract between SpaceX and Exploration Architecture Corporation (XArc).

Rocket Cargo effectively describes the Starship rocket being developed by SpaceX. Military plans are considering fully reusable private rockets capable of launching between 30 and 100 tonnes. Currently, Starship is the only rocket under development planned for reuse and can also launch a large number of rockets at the same time.

Point-to-point space travel A means of transportation that returns a rocket to another location after it has been launched into space, allowing it to carry goods and perhaps people from one side of the globe to the other within an hour.

SpaceX has recently tested a Starship prototype at its Texas facility. Landing and recovery of prototype SN15 After high altitude flight test. SpaceX aims to achieve feats never before achieved by rockets, but instead of the traditional approach of discarding rockets after launch, they can quickly reuse rockets to bring them closer to air travel. I am aiming for. Without exploding the prototype. The company has not yet reached orbit with a rocket.

Dr. Greg Spanjers, leader of the Air Force Research Laboratory in the Rocket Cargo Program, NASA Human Landing System Program Competition As an example of a company working on the “executable” option of the Rocket Cargo feature. NASA’s program, which focused on building lunar modules that bring crews to the surface of the moon, featured three teams: Of Elon Musk SpaceX, Jeff BezosWith “Blue Origin” Leidos‘Subsidiary Dynetics. However, Spangers said the Air Force “spoken to more companies” about the rocket cargo program.

“We talked to a number of providers that could be in dispute over these deals,” Spanjers said on Friday. “SpaceX is certainly the most visible, and there’s no doubt about it. there is no… [but] What you are trying to do is go into orbit or quasi-orbit, unload the payload and land on Earth. In addition to SpaceX, there are several companies today that have that technology. “

The Air Force refused to reveal which company it had spoken to about the Rocket Cargo project, and Spangers said it was “inappropriate” before the Pentagon began the contracting process. However, the solicitation of contracts will begin soon.

In addition, the Air Force is ready to consider Rocket Cargo companies that have not yet developed point-to-point, fully reusable features.

“Today we are building an interface and encouraging more companies to enter the territory. Hopefully they will recognize the return on their investment. [Department of Defense] We are interested in purchasing this service in the future, “Spanjers said.

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US Army Rocket Cargo Programs such as SpaceX Starship

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