It's not Elon Musk's first agreement with the US military, but it's probably one of the most dramatic. His firm, SpaceX, intends to develop a super rocket for the US Department of Defense that can fly at a peak speed of 12,000 km/h and deliver payloads weighing up to 80 tons anywhere in the globe in an hour including weapons transfer.
Just days after Elon Musk signed an order for missile tracking satellites from the US Pentagon, Business Insider reports a new deal between US space and telecommunications company SpaceX and the armed forces. The two partners aim to significantly reduce the transport time of massive payloads compared to conventional military aircraft.
Stephen Lyons, chief of the United States Transportation Command, which oversees personnel movement by water, land, and air, revealed at a video conference that the new High-speed missile could complete the more than 12,000-kilometer voyage from Florida to Afghanistan in about one hour.
In comparison, a US C-17 Globemaster, a military transport aircraft worth $ 218 million (about 180 million euros) with a top speed of 590 miles per hour (approximately 950 km / h), takes around 15 hours.
"So you can claim that with the new rocket, we can carry the charge of a C-17 to anyplace in the planet in less than one hour," Lyons boasted in the British newspaper "The Times." "I can tell you that SpaceX is going extremely fast in this direction, and I am already looking forward to what is to come," the transportation chief continued.
The "Starship" project is now undergoing testing. In May of this year, a Starship prototype was sent into the sky from a launchpad in Texas for a high-altitude test flight. The serial number 15 was likewise outfitted with three Raptor engines, as with previous test flights of the "Starship." SpaceX wants to get a more profound knowledge of the processes and accelerate the construction of a reusable transport system "that can let humans return to the moon, Mars trip, or beyond" with these test flights, which can reach heights of up to 10 kilometers.
It is unknown when the super rocket will be ready for serial manufacturing or when it will be handed to the US military. No information regarding the potential costs has been made available as of yet.
In its development, the SpaceX crew draws on its many years of space experience. The reusable "Falcon 9" and "Falcon Heavy" rockets have already been launched into orbit and successfully landed on Earth.
The brief stunning apex in the company's history occurred in May of this year: Space tourists were sent into space for the first time aboard the crew capsule "Dragon" - the first human-crewed mission in human history without professional astronauts, which traveled far beyond the borders of space into orbit.
SpaceX was the farthest distant trip from Earth since the Apollo lunar program ended in 1972. The capsule traveled around 575 kilometers, which is far higher than the International Space Station or the Hubble Space Telescope.