SpaceX has proven many times thatable to implement even the most daring and complex ideas. She made a name for herself a few years ago by developing and successfully testing the reusable Falcon 9 rocket. In 2020, she surprised us by sending astronauts to the International Space Station inside the Crew Dragon. And now she is engaged in the creation of a rocket that is capable of delivering goods to any part of our planet in a short period of time. The project is being commissioned by the US Armed Forces. Probably, the created launch vehicle will be primarily used for transporting military equipment or delivering food products to places of emergencies. If at the moment it takes about 6 hours to transport cargo by airplane, then a SpaceX rocket will be able to cope with this task. In one hour... At least the engineers really hope so.
SpaceX cargo rocket
About the partnership between SpaceX and the Armed ForcesUSA was featured in FreightWaves. Both sides have already signed a preliminary contract. SpaceX is currently trying to estimate how many millions of dollars it will cost to develop a cargo rocket. She also needs to decide how best to launch the rocket. So far, there are two options:
- First of all, a rocket can be launched from a US space base, after which it will reach the planet's orbit and from there be directed to the final point;
- Secondly, the spacecraft with the cargo can be sent into orbit in advance and sent to the end point later, after a command from the control center on Earth.
At the moment, for the delivery of goods ArmedUS forces use a Boeing C-17 Globemaster freighter. According to The Times, it takes 15 hours for the plane to deliver military cargo from Florida to Afghanistan (12.3 thousand kilometers). And SpaceX wants to develop a rocket that can carry up to 80 tons of payload inside and reach any point on our planet in just an hour. There are no other details about the rocket under development, but its creation should not take very long. Tests of the still unborn rocket are scheduled for 2021. Based on this, it can be assumed that creating a transcontinental rocket is an easier task for SpaceX than developing a rocket to deliver cargo directly into space.
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One would think that for the delivery of goods toalready developed rockets approach different points of the planet. It is possible, but such services will be very expensive. Delivery of 25 tons of cargo using a reusable Falcon 9 rocket costs about $ 28 million... And if you use the Starship spacecraft, which is still under development, the delivery of one cargo will cost 2 million dollars... For comparison, the delivery of cargo using a Boeing C-17 Globemaster aircraft costs 4 times cheaper... So, in the course of developing a new launch vehicle, the company should also take into account that its launch should be inexpensive.
How safe will a cargo rocket be whilehard to tell. Its landing will clearly be more demanding than the landing of a Boeing C-17 Globemaster cargo plane. This aircraft has been used since 1991 and during this time managed to get into several incidents. For example, on January 30, 2009, he landed in Afghanistan with the landing gear retracted, after which a fire occurred, which caused great damage to the structure. And in January 2015, it completely caught fire during the start of the engines at the Wright-Patterson airbase located in the US state of Ohio.
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There is a possibility that SpaceX's new rocketthe future will also be used to transport passengers. In late September, at the International Space Congress in Australia, Elon Musk spoke about plans to develop a rocket for travel. He did not share the technical details, but did mention that the new rocket would be able to deliver people anywhere in the world in an hour. And tickets for a flight on a rocket, he said, will be cheaper than plane tickets.