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SpaceX is a leader in aerospace innovation. Engineers at SpaceX have developed some of the world's most advanced rockets and spacecraft. The company's Falcon 9 is capable of launching payloads to space and returns to Earth in order to be reused. The rocket's first-stage booster features the capability to land vertically on autonomous droneships at sea. This feature is unique in the rocket industry, most companies use expendable rockets.
SpaceX has gained recognition for its ability to return launch vehicles from space routinely. The incredible feature could enable the company to return payload aboard rockets one day. Last year, the President of SpaceX Gwynne Shotwell said the company was in discussions with the military to potentially use Starship to transport cargo from city-to-city on Earth. Starship is SpaceX's next-generation launch vehicle that will eventually replace the fleet of Falcon 9 rockets. Starship would be capable of transporting cargo and passengers at hypersonic speeds, arriving anywhere across Earth in under an hour.
The United States Military Command signed a deal with SpaceX to research how they could use rockets to transport cargo on Earth. U.S. Transportation Commander Army General Stephen Lyons announced the deal with SpaceX on October 7, SpaceNews reports. The deal is a Cooperative Research and Development Agreement (CRADA) to study how launch vehicles can be used to enable rapid transportation.
During a virtual National Defense Association meeting, Lyons talked about the possibility of using rockets to carry emergency cargo to destinations on Earth. “Think about moving the equivalent of a C-17 payload anywhere on the globe in less than an hour,” Lyons said.
The military signed a CRADA agreement with two companies: SpaceX and Exploration Architecture Corporation (XArc). According to reporters, these are unpaid agreements in which SpaceX and XArc will volunteer to research how their technology and launch vehicles can be used for city-to-city transportation.
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.