Space venture Blue Origin, led by billionaire Jeff Bezos, is discussing a big project with the United States Transportation Command (TransCom). The subject? Developing a massive rocket that could deliver cargo anywhere in the world within minutes.
The news was revealed by Thomas Martin, Blue Origin’s director of national security programs, at the National Defense Transportation Association’s conference, Space News reports.
The idea of using space rockets to rapidly deliver cargo dates back to the 1950s. However, the idea has recently resurfaced with the development of SpaceX’s Starship.
In 2017, SpaceX revealed that its upcoming Starship rocket could be adapted for suborbital transportation, or ‘Earth to Earth’ flights, with the ability to deliver passengers and cargo anywhere on the planet within 30 minutes or less.
In 2020, TransCom selected SpaceX and Exploration Architecture Corporation (XArc) to conduct research on point-to-point rocket travel. In its FY2021 budget, the US Air Force allocated $9.7 million to the project, a figure which increased to $47.9 million in FY 2022.
According to Martin, Blue Origin has responded to the request for information issued by StratCom, but the agency is yet to sign an agreement with the company.
Blue Origin is currently developing the New Glenn, a heavy-lift rocket that could compete with SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy and Starship. Although Bezos’ company is yet to conduct an orbital flight, it has recently commenced operations with its New Shepard suborbital tourist capsule.