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posted by n1 on Monday April 10 2017, @10:13PM   Printer-friendly
from the what-goes-up dept.

http://www.satnews.com/story.php?number=1047896505

The US Air Force is open to buying rides on previously flown SpaceX rockets to put military satellites into orbit, a move expected to cut launch costs for the Pentagon, the head of the Air Force Space Command said on Thursday. [...] "I would be comfortable if we were to fly on a reused booster," General John "Jay" Raymond told reporters at the USSpace Symposium in Colorado Springs. "They've proven they can do it. ... It's going to get us to lower cost."

SpaceX has so far won three launch contracts to fly military and national security satellites - business previously awarded exclusively to United Launch Alliance, a partnership of Lockheed Martin and Boeing. All those flights will take place on new Falcon 9 rockets.


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  • (Score: 2) by kaszz on Monday April 10 2017, @10:38PM (5 children)

    by kaszz (4211) on Monday April 10 2017, @10:38PM (#491982) Journal

    ULA, feeling the pressure? :p

    Makes one wonder if this will give US a advantage that will make a difference towards other countries. Sure they can spend more to compensate to keep up. But if the US military can send 5x more satellites for the same price as other countries spend on one. It ought to make a difference.

    It might also push Russia or China to make sure they have the same technology.

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  • (Score: 2) by mhajicek on Monday April 10 2017, @11:26PM (3 children)

    by mhajicek (51) on Monday April 10 2017, @11:26PM (#492009)

    SpaceX is a private company. Will the US force them to turn away foreign contracts?

    --
    The spacelike surfaces of time foliations can have a cusp at the surface of discontinuity. - P. Hajicek
    • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Grishnakh on Monday April 10 2017, @11:33PM (1 child)

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Monday April 10 2017, @11:33PM (#492013)

      They certainly can, and have done that in the past. Defense contractors are only allowed to sell certain technologies or products (like fighter planes) to certain countries, for instance. The US government has many times stepped in to prevent the sale of sensitive technologies to foreign customers.

      Also, SpaceX doesn't sell rockets anyway. They sell launches. You give them your cargo and a pile of money, they launch it for you, from the US. They're not giving away their technology to anyone, just making it available for their use. This can be curtailed at any time, and its use can certainly be limited. If the government wants, they can certainly decide to inspect any foreign cargo being launched to make sure it really is just a communications satellite and not a spy satellite, or they can simply prevent SpaceX from accepting that customer's cargo in the first place.

      • (Score: 3, Funny) by kaszz on Tuesday April 11 2017, @01:07AM

        by kaszz (4211) on Tuesday April 11 2017, @01:07AM (#492046) Journal

        Guess we won't see Space-X expand into China. Could become some really cheap rocket.
        India which supposedly is a H1-B nirvana could perhaps be a workable solution?

        Musk: Why won't the rocket fire?
        China: Rocket engine very expensive.
        Musk: WTF!?
        China: See, it looks just like yours.
        Musk: But it doesn't work!
        China: Looks very nice, very cheap.
        ;-)

    • (Score: 2) by DannyB on Tuesday April 11 2017, @04:07PM

      by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday April 11 2017, @04:07PM (#492323) Journal

      The US might WANT SpaceX to launch foreign satellites.

      Interdiction.

      You can't place a bug or sabotage device on a foreign satellite if you can't get your hands on it.

      --
      Shhhhh! Don't tell anyone . . . the microchips are not in the vaccine but are in the Ivermectin!
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 11 2017, @10:00AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday April 11 2017, @10:00AM (#492203)

    ULA, feeling the pressure? :p

    Never mind ULA. The Russians are feeling major pressure here! Just over a year ago there was a story on Pravda.ru talking about SpaceX and how they are wasting resources on trying to land their rocket. It was right after SpaceX booster crashed onto the landing platform after a geostationary launch. The article talked how Musk must be crazy and how he's financially sinking SpaceX by wasting resources on impossible adventures :)

    Reusable boosters are the greatest thing in space launch systems since Gagarin orbited Earth for the first time or when Apollo actually landed on the moon. But this is even more important. Reusable rockets, if they can actually be used for 100x before they disintegrate, are vital for the orbital fuel depot. If you can keep launching cheap rockets with cheap fuel to put fuel in orbital depot, that opens up the solar system for our little ape creatures. The cost for 1L of fuel to orbit could drop from $10,000 to $200-$500 -- the military paid as much to get fuel to remote operating bases *on earth*!

    So yes, this is huge huge huge. It actually makes colonizing Mars a possibility instead of an improbability (even without any new super rockets)