US military interested in using SpaceX for rapid cargo delivery across globe

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Pentagon officials are interested in testing rocket-based deliveries with SpaceX in hopes of developing the rapid deployment of military resources.

Gen. Steven Lyons, the head of The United States Transportation Command, said he’s hopeful to tryout the space-aged concept with SpaceX as early as next year.

“I’m really excited about the team that’s working with SpaceX on an opportunity, even perhaps in as early as ’21, to conduct a joint proof of principle,” Lyons said Wednesday at a National Defense Transportation Association meeting.

The futuristic vision would allow the military to move 80 tons of cargo anywhere in the globe in one hour, according to Lyons.

“Think about the speed associated with that, whether a small force element or other capability, so [we’re] thinking about movement–of transportation of cargo and people–and that speed associated with that,” Lyons said.

“Then think about the ability to bypass what traditionally today becomes a real area of friction, which is traditional access basing and overflight–the diplomatic alignment that’s required to move very rapidly across the globe,” Lyons when on.

US Transportation Command (TRANSCOM) issued a news release following Lyons’ remarks stating the rapid transit could be used to move “critical logistics during time-sensitive contingencies or to deliver humanitarian assistance.”

A spokesperson for TRANSCOM told Defense Daily it’s still hashing out details will SpaceX on the concept.

Gary Henry, a retired retired U.S. Air Force colonel and director of national security space solutions for SpaceX, said that the idea might be closer to reality than one would think.

“We’re on the cusp of something changing” Henry told Defense Daily.

“For the past 75 years or so, we have been constrained to around 40,000 feet altitude and 600 miles per hour in our very fastest method of logistics delivery—airlift,” said TRANSCOM deputy commander, U.S. Navy Vice Adm. Dee Mewbourne, in a statement.

“It’s time to learn how our current strategies to project and sustain forces can evolve with a new mode of transportation,” Mewbourne added.

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