Capitalism in space: In the budget proposal submitted by the Biden administration the Pentagon included a request for $47.9 million to help develop the infrastructure it will need to use SpaceX’s Starship rocket as a method for transporting cargo point-to-point on Earth.
“The Department of the Air Force seeks to leverage the current multi-billion dollar commercial investment to develop the largest rockets ever, and with full reusability to develop and test the capability to leverage a commercial rocket to deliver AF cargo anywhere on the Earth in less than one hour, with a 100-ton capacity,” the document states.
Although this does not refer to Starship by name, this is the only vehicle under development in the world with this kind of capability. The Air Force does not intend to invest directly into the vehicle’s development, the document says. However, it proposes to fund science and technology needed to interface with the Starship vehicle so that the Air Force might leverage its capabilities.
Clearly, some Air Force officials are intrigued by the possibility of launching 100 tons of cargo from the United States and having the ability to land it anywhere in the world about an hour later.
The proposal is calling for a fourfold increase in funding for this work, as the Air Force is already spending slightly less than $10 million this year on this work.
The bottom line is that it appears SpaceX already has at least one real customer for its giant rocket. And if the military is that interested now, it likely means many more private customers are beginning to line up.
From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.
The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.
He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.
Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon
, Barnes & Noble
, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit
And if you buy it from ebookit
you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.