The U.S. Air Force wants to invest $38 million next year in projects under the heading “Rocket Cargo.” Ars Technica reports that Air Force is already spending $9.7 million on the projects, “but seeks to increase that total for the coming year as it moves into the test phase of the program. The funds will have to be approved by Congress as part of its budget deliberation process this summer and fall.”
The Air Force’s 462-page budget-justifying document says their branch of the military “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 Air Force cargo anywhere on the Earth in less than one hour, with a 100-ton capacity.”
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.