SpaceX will develop superfast rockets to deliver weapons for the US military

Humza

Posts: 737   +160
Staff member
In a nutshell: The US military and SpaceX have teamed up to build a rocket capable of transporting weapon systems anywhere in the world in an hour. The goal is to drastically reduce payload delivery time over existing military transport aircraft while maintaining storage capacity. With the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy's reusable rocket technology being one of SpaceX's landmark achievements in recent years, the company will now need to develop a much more powerful and faster version that can launch with up to 80 metric tons of military payload and is able to land it anywhere in the world in 60 minutes.

SpaceX has recently signed a contract with the US military that will see both parties collaborate on developing superfast rockets for transporting weapons around the globe. The deal is said to have been finalized just days after SpaceX signed a $149 million contract with the Pentagon to develop missile-tracking satellites.

Elon Musk's rocket company has an impressive track record of launching and safely landing reusable rockets like the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. It was also the first commercial company to send NASA's Crew Dragon capsule of astronauts into space, docking them with the ISS in May this year.

Business Insider reports that SpaceX will now assess the feasibility and challenges of developing a 7,500 mph-capable rocket that can carry the equivalent payload of a US C-17 military transport aircraft. While the latter is said to take around 15 hours to complete a 7,652-mile journey from Florida to Afghanistan, SpaceX's rocket will take just 60 minutes to do so.

The head of US Transportation Command, Gen. Stephen Lyons, noted that SpaceX is "moving very, very rapidly in this area," and that he expects initial testing to begin in 2021. The US military and SpaceX will also be joined by another aerospace company, Exploration Architecture Corporation, for research on this project.

While the idea of a 7,500 mph rocket carrying weapon systems seems a bit scary, military application of such technologies has historically fast-tracked innovation and advancement in other industries. SpaceX's R&D on this project could potentially benefit its future Starlink satellite launches, help it secure more NASA crew missions, as well as boost prospects for space tourism.

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Uncle Al

Posts: 7,485   +5,992
It's sounds impressive but in order for it to be effective Space-X would have to have a number of these rockets "ready for launch", be able to mount the payload, fuel it and be ready to launch in just a couple of hours. Even with that a transport could deliver said payload far cheaper than the cost of a rocket. I could see occasional "emergency" resupply missions but in most cases the needed supplies are far closer and be delivered locally by near local support forces. Now, if this were for an emergency trip to the ISS like a rescue capsule in case the ISS has been compromised, that would be a great idea but again, such a rescue vehicle would have to be ready to launch in hours, not days .....
 

QuantumPhysics

Posts: 3,502   +3,346
It's sounds impressive but in order for it to be effective Space-X would have to have a number of these rockets "ready for launch", be able to mount the payload, fuel it and be ready to launch in just a couple of hours. Even with that a transport could deliver said payload far cheaper than the cost of a rocket. I could see occasional "emergency" resupply missions but in most cases the needed supplies are far closer and be delivered locally by near local support forces. Now, if this were for an emergency trip to the ISS like a rescue capsule in case the ISS has been compromised, that would be a great idea but again, such a rescue vehicle would have to be ready to launch in hours, not days .....

Originally, I'd been reading in Popular Mechanics about having Mach 3+ capable hypersonic transports to launch supplies anywhere in the world. This is, this is extraordinarily expensive and the logistics are a nightmare.
 
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Endymio

Posts: 626   +515
Even with that a transport could deliver said payload far cheaper than the cost of a rocket. I could see occasional "emergency" resupply missions but in most cases the needed supplies are far closer and be delivered locally....
Those "horseless" carriages are far too expensive also. They might be useful in an emergency, but the logistics of repairing and refueling them are a nightmare! Lol, can you imagine trying to build chains of petrol-refueling stations across an entire country? And what happens when your carriage breaks down? I'll stick with my horse, thank you.

Maybe longer, I don't know, some Gs that's comfortable for humans.
Not that many g's are required. Accelerate at a comfortable 1.5g for just two minutes, and you're already travelling 4,000 miles/hour.
 

Hardware Geek

Posts: 264   +250
I image there will also he classified designs where the rocket is the weapon. Why not at least explore the option? I agree with a lot of comments about how expensive this is and that it is a last resort, but considering the military budget in this country, it seems like a good investment and it certainly isn't going to hurt to have the option.
 
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franticfrosty

Posts: 63   +73
Like anything, it will be expensive at first, like the first hard drive, and in time it will become cheaper an more advanced, more capable. I can see spacex delivering weapons by rockets in a few short years, specially if they get funding for R&D from the military.

After all, Money isn't anything to worry about when it comes to the states, its like cryptocurrency except the banks can edit the balance in an instant lol.

I do wonder why the military hasn't invested in starlink considering it could help bring better/faster communications & networking to the military compared to satellites.
 
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wiyosaya

Posts: 5,410   +3,486
I do wonder why the military hasn't invested in starlink considering it could help bring better/faster communications & networking to the military compared to satellites.
Starlink has not proven itself yet. Besides, the military already has similar capabilities in a functioning system. Why do they need Starlink?
 

Endymio

Posts: 626   +515
Besides, the military already has similar capabilities in a functioning system. Why do they need Starlink?
No they don't. Milstar and DSCS operate off geosynchronous constellations, which doesn't give the low-latency capabilities that an LEO constellation like Starlink does. That's why the military is funding DARPA projects like Blackjack:

Project Blackjack Takes Off
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,633   +926
Originally, I'd been reading in Popular Mechanics about having Mach 3+ capable hypersonic transports to launch supplies anywhere in the world. This is, this is extraordinarily expensive and the logistics are a nightmare.
Hypersonics are fundamentally different (and slower) than orbital and sub-orbital rocket flights. Aside from the very first few minutes of flight, you cannot compare the two.
 
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wiyosaya

Posts: 5,410   +3,486
No they don't. Milstar and DSCS operate off geosynchronous constellations, which doesn't give the low-latency capabilities that an LEO constellation like Starlink does. That's why the military is funding DARPA projects like Blackjack:

Project Blackjack Takes Off
So, they have already contracted with a company other than SpaceX. And Military radios, themselves, have the capability to form their own IP networks. https://www.harris.com/ And I suppose your response is why they need SpaceX??
 

captaincranky

Posts: 16,130   +4,901
And yet, Tesla, itself Musk's pet project, bailed to China

It is well, known that I don't like or trust Musk, and that causes me to wonder it he couldn't build hyper-sonic rockets in China, at a cheaper price.
 

mbrowne5061

Posts: 1,633   +926
And yet, Tesla, itself Musk's pet project, bailed to China

It is well, known that I don't like or trust Musk, and that causes me to wonder it he couldn't build hyper-sonic rockets in China, at a cheaper price.
Now you got me fantasizing about Musk getting arrested in the International Terminal of the San Francisco airport, trying to bring hypersonic tech to China so he can build rockets there.
 

Avro Arrow

Posts: 211   +204
Really? Using rockets as cargo haulers? This is what happens when the Pentagon has an unlimited budget. Just how much will this insanity cost taxpayers or better yet, how much further into the debt hole will this put the USA?
 
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captaincranky

Posts: 16,130   +4,901
Now you got me fantasizing about Musk getting arrested in the International Terminal of the San Francisco airport, trying to bring hypersonic tech to China so he can build rockets there.
Trust me, it gets worse from there:

Elon Musk is known to put plenty of miles on jets, and now he's got another in his arsenal. ... Falcon Landing LLC, a shell company with ties to SpaceX's Hawthorne, California headquarters, recently registered a new Gulfstream G550 jet alongside its larger G650.Aug 26, 2020

Shoud you decide to go, this site seems to be touchy about adblockers:

[SIZE=18px]Elon Musk should fly his Gulfstream G650ER jet anywhere he ...[/SIZE]
www.businessinsider.com › Transportation › Finance


Jan 31, 2019 — Elon Musk flew 150,000 miles in 2018 on a $70 million private jet. SpaceX reportedly billed Tesla $700,000 for Musk's use of the aircraft. Neither ...

My conclusion, good luck with a stop and frisk at LAX.
 
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Bp968

Posts: 169   +113
So, they have already contracted with a company other than SpaceX. And Military radios, themselves, have the capability to form their own IP networks. https://www.harris.com/ And I suppose your response is why they need SpaceX??
You guys need to pay closer attention. The airforce has been working with spaceX to test using starlink for some of their projects. They intend to have their own private network on starlink if all goes as planned (though I have no idea if that means airforce specific sats or a virtual network on commodity starlink sats)
 

OortCloud

Posts: 436   +277
Space Tourism on a planet whose ecosystem is collapsing under the weight of fossil fuel burning. Lets all start launching into low-earth orbit in rockets, because that isn't going to do any harm is it?

Hopefully Covid20 will come soon and wipe us all out we so can leave this place to better tenants.
 
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imdarkbreeze

Posts: 53   +39
Launch with up to 80 metric tons of military payload and is able to land it anywhere in the world in 60 minutes.


And at the mere expense of producing an equivalent amount of pollution into the atmosphere as what 1000 automobiles produce over the course of an entire year, and probably, actually, more than that. Come back and brag when you've figured out a way to do all the things these rockets are able to do now, with zero emissions, or at least with greatly reduced emissions.

Rocket flights, aircraft, all of this, needs to be seriously reduced to a "need" only basis. Flying around for fun or just to show off, needs to end. I don't care what side of the argument you are on, you can't deny the seriousness of situations like what you see in places like India, China, Pakistan, parts of the US like L.A, etc. where it's practically not even livable anymore.

If you don't think aircraft and rockets are contributing to this, then you're living with your head in the sand.
 

Bp968

Posts: 169   +113
Space Tourism on a planet whose ecosystem is collapsing under the weight of fossil fuel burning. Lets all start launching into low-earth orbit in rockets, because that isn't going to do any harm is it?

Hopefully Covid20 will come soon and wipe us all out we so can leave this place to better tenants.
Its not collapsing under the weight of fossil fuel burning, its collapsing under the weight of 8+ billion people, all of whom want to be to be rich with their own caddy and private jet(s). Someones going to have to suck it up, ignore the Geneva convention (and normal morality in general) and thin us all out, and aggressively. Covid hasn't even made a dent in overall population growth, much less reduced it.
 

captaincranky

Posts: 16,130   +4,901
Launch with up to 80 metric tons of military payload and is able to land it anywhere in the world in 60 minutes.


And at the mere expense of producing an equivalent amount of pollution into the atmosphere as what 1000 automobiles produce over the course of an entire year, and probably, actually, more than that. Come back and brag when you've figured out a way to do all the things these rockets are able to do now, with zero emissions, or at least with greatly reduced emissions.

Rocket flights, aircraft, all of this, needs to be seriously reduced to a "need" only basis. Flying around for fun or just to show off, needs to end. I don't care what side of the argument you are on, you can't deny the seriousness of situations like what you see in places like India, China, Pakistan, parts of the US like L.A, etc. where it's practically not even livable anymore.

If you don't think aircraft and rockets are contributing to this, then you're living with your head in the sand.
Great rant but, I do believe the combustion of liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen produces water as the byproduct.

Liquid hydrogen delivers a specific impulse about 30%-40% higher than most other rocket fuels. Liquid oxygen and liquid hydrogen are used as the propellant in the high efficiency main engines of the Space Shuttle. ... Despite these drawbacks, fluorine produces very impressive engine performance.

Hydrazine is also used as rocket fuel propellant. Mixing it with oxidising agent dinitrogen tetroxide, N2O4, creates a hypergolic mixture – a mixture so explosive, no ignition is required. As the fuel burns, three reactions take place, decomposing hydrazine into ammonia, nitrogen and hydrogen gases.

If you'll take note, you wonj't a single "C" mentioned in the reaction chains.

Agreed, these are all liquid propellants. And solid fuels have different chemical compositions But, I figure it should at least enough to take, "some of the wind out of your tailpipe", so to speak.

BTW, if you hadn't noticed, Covid19 has already taken up the cudgels for you, at least with respect to passenger air travel.
 
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captaincranky

Posts: 16,130   +4,901
Its not collapsing under the weight of fossil fuel burning, its collapsing under the weight of 8+ billion people, all of whom want to be to be rich with their own caddy and private jet(s). Someones going to have to suck it up, ignore the Geneva convention (and normal morality in general) and thin us all out, and aggressively. Covid hasn't even made a dent in overall population growth, much less reduced it.
You know, the more I think about it, the more I think,"Thanos", had the right idea. (y) (Y)

In fact, I was going to have T-shirts made up in support of population control,.

The logo I imagined was, "Wear a Condom, the world doesn't need another illiterate, parasitic, crack dealing a**hole such as yourself".

But, as fate would have it, I'm pretty sure they'd never be sold, at least not in my neck of the woods. :rolleyes:
 

Endymio

Posts: 626   +515
[The ecosystem is] not collapsing under the weight of fossil fuel burning, its collapsing under the weight of 8+ billion people
It's not collapsing at all. Gobal biomass (the sum of all plants and animals living on earth) is increasing, annual food production (a metric critical to mankind) has dramatically increased to the point that earlier environmentalist predictions of widespread hunger now appear absurd, and, in the US and most other developed nations at least, our air and water has never been cleaner or more healthy. The largest long-term product industrialized nations face at this point is not overpopulation, but under. Many now have a birthrate too low to maintain their populations.

Really? Using rockets as cargo haulers? ...Just how much will this insanity cost taxpayers?
The capability very well may save the military money. Currently every base, installation, and forward operation the military supports is required to be supplied with hundreds of tons of materiel they will likely never use, because during a crisis situation it might take hours or days to resupply them. Being able to drop 80 tons anywhere in the globe in 30 minutes would simplify the logistics dramatically, and cut the overall number of resupply flights.
 
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