On June 4, the Department of the Air Force picked the designation of Rocket Cargo as the fourth Vanguard program to increase its science and technology output. This specific project will be led by the US Space Force founded in 2019 by formed president Donald Trump. This is their first program like this.
The Rocket Cargo Vanguard will have the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) work to first understand if a rocket can be used as part of the Department of Defense global logistics in terms of transport of personnel and cargo across the globe. It will also look if such a rocket could be used to deliver cargo globally.
“The Rocket Cargo Vanguard is a clear example of how the Space Force is developing innovative solutions as a service, in particular the ability to provide independent options in, from, and to space,” Chief of Space Operations Gen. John W. “Jay” Raymond, said in a statement. “Once realized, Rocket Cargo will fundamentally alter the rapid logistics landscape, connecting materiel to joint warfighters in a fraction of the time it takes today. In the event of conflict or humanitarian crisis, the Space Force will be able to provide our national leadership with an independent option to achieve strategic objectives from space.”
Rocket-delivered cargo has previously been considered too costly, given that getting a single kilogram (two pounds) of material to space is of the order of tens of thousands of dollars. Reusable rockets from commercial companies, such as SpaceX, have started to change that – so maybe rocket deliveries could soon be affordable.