USAF Space Command General Backs Reusable Rockets

Gen. John Raymond

The head of U.S. Air Force Space Command said he is “completely committed” to eventually using previously flown rockets to launch military payloads.

It would be “absolutely foolish” not to begin using pre-flown rockets, which bring such significant savings that they’ll soon be commonplace for the entire industry, General John W. “Jay” Raymond said in an interview Monday at Bloomberg headquarters in New York.

“The market’s going to go that way. We’d be dumb not to,” he said. “What we have to do is make sure we do it smartly.”

The Air Force won’t be able to use the recycled boosters until they’re certified for military use, a process that Raymond suggested may already be in the works.

“The folks out at Space and Missile Systems Center in Los Angeles that work for me would be in those dialogues,” he said, declining to specify when certification could take place. “I don’t know how far down the road we’ve gotten, but I am completely committed to launching on a reused rocket, a previously flown rocket, and making sure that we have the processes in place to be able to make sure that we can do that safely.”

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  • Andrew Tubbiolo

    So the military is starting to break down, or so it seems. Watch out ULA. It’s not too late to re-specify Vulcan. 2017 I think shows what the market will expect at a minimum. Ariane 6, and Vulcan won’t make the cut as planed at this point.

  • Jeff2Space

    Good. Relying on flight proven hardware is a good thing. Expendables make sense when they are missiles armed with warheads, not when they’re launch vehicles with payloads bound for orbit.

  • publiusr

    The Air Force could have been friendly to Musk. Too late for them now. Lots of Blue Suits in The Aerospace Corp. and ULA.

    They had their chance.

    Time for a new Space Corp. But not under the USAF.

    I want a return of the ABMA.