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SpaceX wins $100 million air Force contract to fly Defense Department missions

via:澎湃新闻     time:2022/1/21 11:02:28     readed:131

Original title: SpaceX awarded us Air Force $100 million contract to explore point-to-point rocket cargo technology

According to SpaceNews, the U.S. Air Force has awarded SpaceX a five-year, $102 million rocket cargo contract to demonstrate the technology and ability to transport military supplies and aid using heavy rockets. The Rocket Cargo program is a new program led by the AIR Force Research Laboratory to study the utility of using large commercial rockets to perform defense Department logistics transportation missions around the world.

SpaceNews reported that the contract does not target any of SpaceX's launch vehicles. The AIR Force Research Laboratory will use SpaceX's commercial orbital launches and landings to gather critical data on environmental characteristics and performance. SpaceX will provide cargo bay designs that can be loaded and unloaded quickly, and the U.S. Air Force will explore the use of intermodal containers compatible with other transportation delivery modes.

Greg Spanjers, rocket Cargo program manager, said the contract will formalize a government-industry partnership to help determine what a rocket can achieve when it is used for cargo, its true capabilities, speed, and the cost of integrating systems.

"Commercial suppliers envision fixed point-to-point transportation to established locations, and once such commercial services are available, we would certainly be interested in purchasing." Spanjers also said a wider range of new flight routes are being explored to alleviate overflight problems, explore more options for landing in difficult locations, study the human element of landing in densely populated areas, and integrate a wider range of cargo, including medical supplies.

The U.S. Transportation Command previously signed a partnership with SpaceX and Exploration Architecture Corporation in 2020 to develop the concept of rapid space transport. The technology for point-to-point space transportation of goods is similar to the Earth Hour traffic circle proposed by Musk a few years ago, except that people are transported point-to-point.

In 2017, he shared a video during a talk. The video shows starship, the next generation of fully reusable transport systems, launching passengers into space from an offshore platform near New York and landing 39 minutes later on a similar offshore platform near Shanghai.

With a maximum speed of 27,000 kilometers per hour, starship will travel from New York to Shanghai in 39 minutes, Los Angeles to Toronto in 24 minutes, Bangkok to Dubai in 27 minutes, London to New York in 29 minutes, and Los Angeles to New York in 25 minutes.

In 2020, Musk replied on social media that there would be many test flights before taking on commercial passengers, and that the first round-the-world passenger test flight of the Starship system could take place in two to three years.

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