- The US military is teaming up with Elon Musk’s SpaceX to build a 7,500 mph rocket to deliver weapons around the world.
- The planned rocket will be able to carry 80 tonnes of cargo into space and land anywhere in the world in about an hour.
- SpaceX will now assess the costs and technical challenges of the project, while initial tests are expected in 2021.
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Elon Musk’s SpaceX and the US military plan to build a 7,500 mph rocket that can deliver 80 tonnes of cargo to anywhere in the world in 60 minutes.
Under a newly agreed contract, SpaceX will assess the costs and technical challenges of the project, while initial tests are expected in 2021, General Stephen Lyons, head of US Transportation Command, said on Wednesday at a virtual conference.
A 7,652-mile journey from Florida to Afghanistan could be completed within about an hour with the high-speed rocket, per The Times. In comparison, a US C-17 Globemaster, a military transport aircraft costing $218 million with a maximum speed of 590 mph, would complete this journey in around 15 hours.
“Think about moving the equivalent of a C-17 payload anywhere on the globe in less than an hour,” Lyons said. “I can tell you SpaceX is moving very, very rapidly in this area. I’m really excited about the team that’s working with SpaceX.”
Another aerospace company, Exploration Architecture Corporation (XArc), will also be part of the research programme.
SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk in 2002, has already developed the Falcon 9, a reusable rocket designed to carry 22 tonnes of cargo and land vertically in a controlled descent.
The plan comes days after SpaceX landed a $149 million contract to build missile-tracking satellites for the Pentagon, indicating that the aerospace firm is ramping up its military contracts. As part of the deal, SpaceX will build four satellites fitted with wide-angle infrared missile tracking sensors in its assembly plant in Washington, where the firm builds satellites for its Starlink internet project.
In August, SpaceX won 40% of a billion-dollar agreement with the Department of Defense to launch new rockets for the Space Force. The remaining 60% went to United Launch Alliance (ULA).