US Transportation Command Studying SpaceX Starships Anywhere in an Hour Capability

U.S. Transportation Command has signed an agreement with SpaceX and Exploration Architecture Corporation (XArc) to study the use of SpaceX Starships to transport supplies in an emergency.

Army Gen. Stephen Lyons, commander of U.S. Transportation Command, described the vision of moving a C-17 payload anywhere on the globe in less than an hour using SpaceX rockets.

Cooperative research and development agreements (CRADA) have the companies volunteer time and resources to help the government study use cases.

One of the scenarios would be to establish a space transportation surge capability. Currently regular commercial passenger jets are part of a Civil Reserve Air Fleet (CRAF) emergency preparedness program where civilian airlines commit to augmenting DoD airlift capability during emergencies.

The United States Transportation Command (USTRANSCOM) is one of eleven unified combatant commands of the United States Department of Defense. USTRANSCOM coordinates missions worldwide using both military and commercial transportation resources.

It is composed of three service component commands:
The Air Force’s Air Mobility Command,
the Navy’s Military Sealift Command and
the Army’s Surface Deployment and Distribution Command.

The Joint Enabling Capabilities Command, which was part of the former U.S. Joint Forces Command, is now part of the U.S. Transportation Command.

SOURCES – SpaceX, Spacenews
Written by Brian Wang,

12 thoughts on “US Transportation Command Studying SpaceX Starships Anywhere in an Hour Capability”

  1. It's supposed to be landing on the Moon and Mars. If it can't handle rough terrain on this planet, it's already failed its primary mission.

  2. Yep, this one should be able to land in any conveniently flat, resilient surface. If you have a fuel pump nearby, they should be able to refuel and relaunch.

    Those will be facilities that can be significantly smaller than an airport, and let's notice there are plenty of those already.

  3. By the way, I realize it's just a quick graphic, but what's that landing pad in the first picture supposed to be made of, with those rounded, eroded edges? A really big old plank of wood? A big piece of brown styrofoam? Those edges really make no sense at all.

  4. I look forward to seeing this, MANY challenges lie ahead of them. It would definitely end the mocking of the Space Force.

  5. Last time around it was the US Marines and some sort of semi-disposable spaceplane, roughly based on Virgin Orbit's mothership/SpaceShipOne combo. I think is was SUSTAIN/Project Hot Eagle or similar nomenclature. I think the end result was a lander that delivers cargo, UGV's, and UAV's, and no humans, to avoid the recovery issue.

  6. Nope, no ocean platform required. This is the seven sea level raptor stretched starship single stage only. Much more manageable than super heavy. Add infrastructure to an existing airbase.

  7. This is the seven sea level raptor stretched starship single stage only. Much more manageable than super heavy. Add infrastructure to an existing airbase.

  8. Military Transport using Starship if they got serious about it would require dedicated ocean platform spaceports and their own fleet of Starships.

    The exact same thing would be required to use Starship as a Kinetic Hypersonic or Orbital bomber.

    The only difference is whether the payload is dropped off in space while traveling at 8000-17,000 mph rather than landing it at along with the Starship.

    Developing various kinetic strike reentry bombs wouldn’t take much and Starship could carry a lot more payload as bombs it dropped off rather than cargo it had to land.

    Either way, it’s just plain old Cargo Starships.

    The advantages of hypersonic/orbital kinetic bomber Starship amount to the Third Offset the military has long wanted. It would provide the ability to take out sophisticated air defenses anywhere in the world at any time with little risk to US assets.

  9. I suppose you could equip the payload with a reentry capsule, (It wouldn't be a tough reentry.) and dump it overboard while on an appropriate trajectory, then the Starship could do a boost to land someplace else.

  10. Compelling in concept, though the 'landing' site conditions in such disaster, chaos, and needy locations may be unsuitable logistical 'landing hop' nightmares. It would seem simpler to perform target drops by other methods – such as Care Packages by Cruise Missile -or- Blackbirds without Borders (do the SR-71 descendants still exist) -or- UAVs Send their Love or such. Not sure how such payloads could be integrated into such systems, but having a Tomahawk medicine/ nutrition transport from the dozens of cruisers, subs, and other naval vessels could be very convenient. Nothing could be more humane and charitable than having dozens of 'survival supplies' payloads provided by a UNESCO multi-warhead tactical 'Humanitarian Aid' strike, say in Bangladesh or other hard-to-access zone after a devastating weather event. Kudos to the modern equivalent of 'swords to ploughshares'. Yay.

Comments are closed.