WASHINGTON, (BM) – Elon Musk revolutionized the idea of the carriers of the so-called spacecraft boosters to return and land on a particular site, after which NASA can use them again. In this way, Elon Musk, NASA, and American taxpayers save a lot of money, but it turns out that the technology will continue to keep in the military industry.
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The Pentagon has been trying for years to reduce defense budget spending on military cargo-carrying large loads significantly. However, the United States has dozens of bases worldwide, and transportation costs are not decreasing; on the contrary – in recent years gradually increasing.
The U.S. Air Force’s Rocket Cargo program is about to make its breakthrough after the Air Force department announced on June 4 that it moved from scientific development to real-world development. On the same day, the leadership of the Air Force requested from the defense budget for fiscal 2022 nearly 50 million, which will be the beginning of the realization of the idea.
The idea is simple – delivery of cargo up to 100 tons anywhere on the planet. The Air Force says it will work on the project with the U.S. Space Force but has no plans to enter the rocket business.
“One of the things that we are not going to do, [is,] we are not going to get into the rocket launch business,” Air Force Materiel Command boss Gen. Arnold W. Bunch Jr. said. He said the commercial launch industry “is driving that, and we’re not going to get in the way of that in any way, shape, or form.”
One hundred tons is a relatively medium tonnage in the military industry. Still, according to Bunch, initially, the Air Force and the Pentagon will focus on humanitarian and tonnage cargo and subsequently will likely work on larger and heavier cargo. However, 100 tons of cargo is equal to the same capacity with which a military transport aircraft is loading as the C-17. Still, as the idea implies – the Pentagon will reduce the transportation time by several times.
Such transportation of both civilian and military shipments is not new. On the contrary, this idea has existed since the first space flights in the United States and the world, but Elon Musk and his breakthrough in space engineering make the dream closer to reality.
It is clear from Bunch’s statements that the Pentagon will use a “space launch” type to implement the idea. This information means that the military will have to do two things at once – look for a suitable geographical place to land the rocket and work out the right place to land the rocket. Moreover, such transportation implies that the Air Force will reuse a rocket during a cargo shipment. I.e., when landing at the first destination, the rocket must be released with part of the cargo and continue to the next destination.
Such a Pentagon program is one of the few that would immediately find application in the commercial life of the world outside of military affairs. As a result, this program provides excellent added value and opportunity for investment and the use of know-how outside the military sector.
“So, our goal is to be an early adopter here [with] this capability, by rapidly enhancing and leveraging the commercial investments and the advances we’re seeing for DOD purposes,” Brig. Gen. D. Jason Cothern said.
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