Rocket Lab and Sierra Space will deliver cargo for the US military

Rocket Lab and Sierra Space have signed a CRADA (Cooperative Research and Development Agreement) with the US Transportation Command. Within its framework, they will study the possibility of using their rockets and spacecraft for the rapid delivery of goods to anywhere in the world.

The Neutron rocket in the artist’s image. Source: Rocket Lab

The US military has long shown interest in the possibility of using space technology for emergency delivery of cargo for both military and humanitarian purposes. Last year, the US Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) initiated a program aimed at studying this issue. Initially, SpaceX and Blue Origin joined it, but now Rocket Lab and Sierra Space have also been added to the number of participants. 

As part of the agreement, Rocket Lab will provide AFRL with data on the characteristics of its carriers — the Electron light rocket in operation and the Neutron medium rocket under development. They will allow us to evaluate the possibility of creating their cargo modifications capable of carrying shipping containers. Rocket Lab will also study the issue of using its universal Photon platform as an orbital cargo storage.

As for Sierra Space, unlike the rest of the program participants, it is not developing launch vehicles, but a Dream Chaser spaceplane designed to supply the ISS. The device will be launched into space with the help of a rocket and, upon return, land at the airfield as an ordinary aircraft. As part of the agreement, Sierra Space specialists will study the possibility of using it for suborbital cargo flights.

Earlier we wrote about how SpaceX will provide the US Air Force with satellite Internet.

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