SpaceX Funded for On-Earth Rocket Cargo

SpaceX a $102 million five-year US Air Force contract to demonstrate delivering cargo anywhere on earth (point to point) in an hour. The under one hour delivery is not specified in the contract but using the the SpaceX Starship would enable delivery of up to 220 tons in under one hour. There was a previous rocket cargo contract for SpaceX for about $48 million.

A new nine-engine SpaceX Starship design could transport 220 tons with a range of about 8000 miles. An Airbus A380 can transport 150 tons in a cargo configuration. A C17A can transport about 78 tons up to 2800 miles.

The contract is for the rocket cargo program, a new project led by the Air Force Research Laboratory to investigate the utility of using large commercial rockets for Department of Defense global logistics.

This is the largest contract awarded to date for rocket cargo. U.S. Transportation Command in 2020 signed cooperative research and development agreements with SpaceX and Exploration Architecture Corporation (XArc) to study concepts for rapid transportation through space.

In June, 2021, the Department of the Air Force announced June 4 the designation of Rocket Cargo as the fourth Vanguard program as part of its transformational science and technology portfolio identified in the DAF 2030 Science and Technology strategy for the next decade. Additionally, the U.S. Space Force was designated as the lead service for Rocket Cargo Vanguard, marking the service’s first such program.

SOURCES- SpaceX, Space News
Written By Brian Wang,