BLUF

Cheaper and more manoeuvrable spacecraft might change the way the US military operates in space.

Summary

Building on technology developed by private companies such as SpaceX and Boeing, the United States Air Force (USAF) developed the X-37B spacecraft, the first actual military spaceplane. The X-37B looks like a smaller version of the Space Shuttle. This article argues that the X-37B might represent the future of spacecraft in the same way that the Wright Flyer represented the future of powered flight. However, the new SpaceX Starship might be to the X-37B what the DC3 (1938 relatively cheap transport aircraft) was to the Wright Flyer. The Starship is likely to have the following characteristics: 

  • Significant load capacity.
  • Manoeuvrable.
  • Reusable.
  • Can refuel while in orbit.
  • Low relative cost.

The Starship's great advantage is that it can transport heavy loads into space at relatively little cost. The Starship by making other forms of space transport obsolete, could be regarded as a form of disruptive technology. This article also argues that like traditional navy vessels, the Starship should be able to sustain long-term space operations and might also be able to provide a military deterrent just by existing. 

 

 

 

 
 
PME Level: 4 #Space #USAF #Military