SpaceX Wants to Replace Strategic Lift Aircraft

SpaceX is a private space transportation company promoted by Elon Musk. The Company is in the business of developing spacecraft and rockets for transporting humans and cargo across the space. SpaceX has developed their largest rocket, Starship which is capable of lifitng 110 tons of cargo and people. This is much more than the capacity of the C17 Globemaster aircraft used by the US Armed Forces.

As per news report in Popular Mechanics, Gwynne Shotwell, the COO of SpaceX proposed during a panel discussion that the US Armed Forces could use two the Starship for transporting men and material quickly across the globe. As per him, the Starship spacecraft and Super heavy rocket can carry 110 tons of cargo into low earth orbit. Also, it will carry this load at a speed of 18,000 mph. This means that any location on the globe could be accessible to the US armed forces within a fraction of an hour. Mr Gwynne explained that the system would be launched into low earth orbit with the men and material, which could be a 100 fully armed soldiers or an M1A2 Abrams Tank with its crew and ammunition like a ballistic missile. The space craft, once it reaches the destination, would de orbit like a nuclear weapon warhead. However, instead of hurtling to the earth at high speed, the spacecraft would decelerate to the landing spot using rocket motors and land safely.

Gwynne Shotwell said, that after taking the launch and deceleration time into consideration, the starship could carry the troops from Nebraska in USA to the UAE in middle east in around half and hours time. The US Army has not responded to the offer as space travel is still much more expensive, less reliable and much more dangerous that air travel. Though it may be early for the US Armed Forces to accept such a proposal, they can always start preparing specifications for a similar system which they may look at in the future.

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