If you think Elon Musk and his SpaceX are the only ones aiming for the use of reusable rockets, you are wrong. Indeed, a New York startup called iRocket managed to get a contract with the US Air Force.
In particular, according to what reported by Spacewatch and TechCrunch, following the previous collaboration with Space and Missile Systems Center, the US Air Force has chosen to rely on the aforementioned company to launch satellites in orbit (more precisely, in the so-called LEO or Low Earth Orbit). For the uninitiated, the “cutting edge” of iRocket is the rocket called Shockwave, designed to carry a maximum payload of approximately 1500 kg.
In any case, the plans for the future of the startup are not limited simply to the “small satellites” business. In fact, rocket plans to provide satellite support services by 2025. Returning to Shockwave, the company plans to make the first launch by 2023. The starting point? Currently, it does not yet seem to have been decided definitively, but among the most quoted is the Launch Complex 48 of the Kennedy Space Center (Cape Canaveral, Florida).
In case you are wondering, yes: the “challenge” to SpaceX could be interesting. However, at the moment iRocket still has everything to prove, while Elon Musk and associates have already brought home remarkable results. We will see, surely competition can be an important engine for progress.