The United States Air Force has launched a new missile cargo program with Cosmic Force Friday (June 4) to explore the use of commercial spacecraft to deliver cargo around the world – and they can turn to NASA’s lunar landing module program for ideas.
If the project, called Rocket Cargo, goes according to plan, it will take advantage of the fast-growing rocket industry competing to send satellites into space. While the search for rocket companies has just begun, concept issued by the United States Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) evokes smooth, silvery Starship prototypes are being tested by SpaceX in South Texas.
In the past decade, new industry entrants such as SpaceX, Relativity Space and Rocket Lab have been fueled by new efficiencies in rocket manufacturing, self-landing stages and increased demand for CubeSats – growing to compete with industry standby companies such as Arianespace and United Launch Alliance.
These “new opportunities”, according to representatives of the Space Forces and the Air Force said in a joint statement, “increase lifting capacity and dramatically reduce launch costs.” Therefore, the military unit plans to study how to use the largest commercial missiles available to deliver tens of tons of cargo around the world, especially to remote areas.
“Once implemented, Rocket Cargo will revolutionize the fast logistics landscape by connecting materiel to combat fighters in a fraction of the time it takes today,” Space Force Chief John Jay Raymond said in a statement. “In the event of a conflict or humanitarian crisis, the Space Force will be able to provide our national leadership with an independent opportunity to achieve strategic goals from space.”
This project has the potential to open up great opportunities for the participating companies. The U.S. Air Force budget for 2022 includes $ 47.9 million in missile cargo, according to SpaceNewsas the military is looking for ways to put cargo containers on missiles capable of carrying 30 to 100 tons. The advantage over conventional aircraft such as the C-17 is the ability to deliver cargo to remote areas in 90 minutes, rather than hours or days.
According to SpaceNews, officials said at a press conference that they plan to open the applications “in the very near future.” SpaceX isn’t the only company in question, but the military declined to name any other company. One possible alternative, officials added, could be companies looking for lunar landing opportunities as part of NASA’s commercial lunar payload (CLPS) program.
This could include quite a few companies if NASA website is an indicator… The selected CLPS landing gear suppliers currently include Astrobotic Technology, Blue origin, Ceres Robotics, Draper, Firefly Aerospace, Intuitive Machines, Lockheed Martin Space, Masten Space Systems, Moon Express, Orbit Beyond, Sierra Nevada Corporation, SpaceX, and Tyvak Nano-Satellite Systems.
NASA Selects SpaceX Starship Spacecraft land astronauts on the moon as part of their Artemis program… Blue Origin, which developed a suborbital reusable rocket called New Shepard, and another company, Dynetics, have also filed applications and protesting against the SpaceX award…
Rocket Cargo will see commercial companies develop new missiles while the military “invests primarily in S&T. [science and technology] It is necessary to quickly adapt the capabilities “for Defense Department missions,” the official said. The Defense Department will also be the first customer to procure missions under lease agreements.
The companies will work closely with several military organizations. The Air Force said in a statement that the AFRL will lead the development of science and technology, Space Force will act as the lead service, and the Space and Rocket Systems Center will lead the program.
Rocket Cargo is the fourth Vanguard program conducted by the US military in search of “transformational” items for the US Air Force’s decade-long science and technology strategy, the report said. The other three programs focus on autonomous air platforms, autonomous networked weapons and space positioning, navigation and timing.
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