In short: The US military and SpaceX have teamed up to create a missile capable of transporting weapons systems around the world in an hour. The aim is to drastically reduce payload delivery times over existing military transport aircraft, while maintaining storage capacity. As the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy reusable rocket technology is one of SpaceX’s notable achievements in recent years, the company will now have 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 recently signed a contract with the US military in which the two countries will work together to develop high-speed missiles to transport weapons around the world. The deal is said to have been finalized just days after SpaceX signed a $ 1
Elon Musk’s missile company has impressive experience in launching and safely landing reusable missiles such as the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy. It was also the first commercial company to send NASA’s Crew Dragon capsule into space with astronauts, which docked them with the ISS in May this year.
Business Insider reports that SpaceX will now assess the feasibility and challenges of developing a 7500 mph rocket capable of carrying the equivalent payload of a US C-17 military transport aircraft. While the latter is said to take about 15 hours to travel 7,652 miles from Florida to Afghanistan, the SpaceX rocket will take only 60 minutes to do so.
The head of the US Transport Command, General Stephen Lyons, noted that SpaceX “is moving very, very fast in this area” and expects initial testing to begin in 2021. The US military and SpaceX will also be joined by another aerospace company, Exploration Architecture Corporation, to study this project.
Although the idea of missile systems at 7,500 miles per hour seems a little daunting, the military application of such technologies has historically accelerated innovation and progress in other industries. SpaceX’s research and development on this project could potentially benefit from future launches of Starlink satellites, help it secure more missions for NASA’s crew, and increase the prospects for space tourism.