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posted by Fnord666 on Monday June 07, @11:41PM   Printer-friendly
from the speedy-delivery dept.

https://arstechnica.com/science/2021/06/the-military-wants-to-use-rockets-for-cargo-delivery-anywhere-on-earth/

The Air Force confirmed a strong interest in delivery of cargo around the world—by rockets—during an hourlong conference call with reporters on Friday. Military officials said they were elevating the cargo initiative to become the newest "Vanguard Program," indicating a desire to move the concept from an experimental state into an operational capability.

"This idea has been around since the dawn of spaceflight," said Dr. Greg Spanjers, an Air Force scientist and the Rocket Cargo Program Manager. "It's always been an intriguing idea. We've looked at it about every 10 years, but it's never really made sense. The reason we're doing it now is because it looks like technology may have caught up with a good idea."

Ars first reported about the "Rocket Cargo" program in the Air Force's budget request on Monday. As part of its $200 billion annual budget, the Air Force is seeking $47.9 million to leverage emerging commercial rocket capabilities to launch cargo from one location and land elsewhere on Earth.

During Friday's call, the officials explained what they're looking for in more depth. "Fundamentally, a rocket can get around the world in 90 minutes, and an airplane cannot," Spanjers said.

Previously:
The US Military is Starting to Get Really Interested in Starship


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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @12:16AM (7 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @12:16AM (#1142971)

    Let' see. The current Abrams is about 75 short tons. How much with crew, fuel and ammo?

  • (Score: 2) by DECbot on Tuesday June 08, @12:35AM (2 children)

    by DECbot (832) on Tuesday June 08, @12:35AM (#1142976) Journal

    Crew and ammo won't change the numbers by too much in comparison to the mass of the tank. For re-entry, I doubt you can rely solely on parachutes. So, much of the deceleration will likely need to be powered. That will make rocket fuel the big variable for the mass calculations. Let's see, do you want a soft landing or an explosion on impact?

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    • (Score: 2) by coolgopher on Tuesday June 08, @01:17AM

      by coolgopher (1157) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday June 08, @01:17AM (#1142983)

      do you want a soft landing or an explosion on impact?

      Depends on the selected mode of operation, I'd say. There's an untapped market niche for combined transport+ICBM I think. And you can always count on the armed forces to spend ridiculous amounts of money on ridiculous projects.

    • (Score: 1, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @07:03AM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @07:03AM (#1143053)

      Starship's infamous belly-flop manoeuvre uses air-brakes (the big wing-like flaps) to slow down during descent before a propulsive touchdown. This is designed to work with a full 100t payload. The biggest problems with hauling an Abrams would be standing it on end to fit in the cargo bay and bracing it for acceleration. Not impossible, but it would be hard on things.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by mhajicek on Tuesday June 08, @04:48AM

    by mhajicek (51) on Tuesday June 08, @04:48AM (#1143034)

    This was discussed on Ars. Consensus was it could fit, but would have to be up on end. A better use would be a Bradley and a bunch of infantry with heavy weapons and gear. Or rapid resupply for a SAM site.

  • (Score: 2) by driverless on Tuesday June 08, @09:10AM (2 children)

    by driverless (4770) on Tuesday June 08, @09:10AM (#1143069)

    I've heard of rockets delivering blast, fragmentation, shaped-charge, chemical and biological cargoes before, but never considered firing an Abrams at someone. What's the military utility in that?

    • (Score: 2) by Freeman on Tuesday June 08, @02:40PM

      by Freeman (732) on Tuesday June 08, @02:40PM (#1143141) Journal

      The utility is in the reusability of the rocket.

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    • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @04:12PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 08, @04:12PM (#1143180)

      They could use it to get the Starliner, Orion or F-35 off the ground.