Will the US military purchase a suborbital point to point delivery capability before 2030?
5
47
130
2029
40%
chance

Purchase: buy a vehicle outright or contract a private corporation to provide that service on demand. The vehicle does not have to be operational by 2030, as long as the contract is signed this will resolve YES.

Suborbital is here understood to include fractional orbit systems

The vehicle (or its upper stage) should be capable, at the very least, of travelling between anywhere in the US and Japan.

Obviously, the vehicle must have a payload capacity. However, I will not presuppose to judge what this might be. If the US military signs a contract within the spirit of this market that will be enough.

The capability should outcompete existing cargo planes. That means that it needs to maintained in such a way that it can be utilised in under 12 hours from first notice.

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Just to clarify, this would have to be a contract for an operational service, not a demonstration mission? Also, how would you handle a situation in which a contract is signed before 2030, but the system is still in development and relevant specifications like range and preparation time are not public?

@sesquipedalianThaumaturge specifications not being public doesn't concern me too much because I just can't conceive that they would go for something that fits the spirit of this market but not the criteria. Obviously will have to look at what's actually in front of us to see whether that assumption holds up. I'll just make good faith decisions if it doesn't.

A demonstrator scenario is a bit concerning. If it's clearly for a single mission or demonstrator vehicle that won't qualify, but if it's somewhat unclear (small number of vehicles, slightly speculative language in press releases, clear opportunities to cancel the contract), I'd be inclined to count it. However, this would really depend on the exact situation and I won't hem myself in now with more criteria that might end up impacting my ability to resolve in the spirit of the market.

predicts NO

@JoshuaWilkes I'm mostly wondering about the "under 12 hours from first notice" thing. If it's 2030 and there's a contract for an operational system, but we don't know what the designed lead time before a flight is (or it's something vague like "less than 24 hours"), how would you resolve? Or would you wait until we know how the system performs?

@sesquipedalianThaumaturge if it's something like 'less than 24 hours' or even just a vague adjective like 'rapid deployment' I'd be inclined to resolve YES because there's no real value proposition in that if it doesn't offer a step change over existing cargo jets which could do the task in roughly 24 hours

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