The Pentagon plans to take control of Starship from SpaceX

The most powerful Super Heavy launch vehicle, which is capable of putting the Starship spacecraft into low-Earth orbit, is currently being tested. At the time it is put into operation, it will be the most coveted rocket for many space companies that will need powerful space transport to take out their massive cargoes. But these companies will have to get in line, because the Pentagon is considering the possibility of exercising full control over this mega-rocket for extremely important national security tasks.

Illustration of Starship flight with Super Heavy launch vehicle

The U.S. Department of Defense is working with SpaceX to explore the possibility of obtaining government control of the Starship rocket for “sensitive and potentially dangerous missions,” Aviation Weekly reported. According to the proposed plan, the Pentagon will temporarily acquire one launch vehicle along with Starship for its own tasks. This is different from a regular launch services contract from SpaceX, giving the military full control and responsibility for specific missions.

It is unknown whether SpaceX ground crews will be involved in these Pentagon missions, but the government will fully manage the operation of the rocket. Given this, it is interesting how this relates to Elon Musk, in particular his scandalous reputation. According to the Wall Street Journal, articles appeared in January about Musk’s possible drug use, which could affect his participation in secret missions.

Super Heavy launch vehicle with Starship spacecraft. Photo: SpaceX

Despite this, the Pentagon’s interest in Starship and Super Heavy makes strategic sense, allowing its power to be used to develop space capabilities, for example, the development of secret military missions. However, the question of whether SpaceX will agree to this plan remains unresolved

The two-stage launch vehicle is still in development. During launch, the total size of the Starship and Super Heavy is 121 m, and 33 Raptor engines generate 7,500 tons of thrust. This power allows an impressive 150 tons of payload to be placed into low-Earth orbit, which will make the Super Heavy the most powerful rocket in history. Prior to that, SpaceX conducted two not-so-successful test flights, and the third is scheduled for the end of the month.

Earlier, we reported on how Elon Musk suggested that passengers fly on intercontinental ballistic missiles.

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