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五角大樓

Pentagon sees Musk』s heavy rocket as prospect to boost US space defence
五角大樓稱SpaceX火箭發射「鼓舞人心」

波音和洛克希德•馬丁結成的發射聯盟迄今主宰美國軍事太空發射,但獵鷹重型火箭讓美國國防部看到打破壟斷格局的希望。

The Pentagon is eyeing the successful launch of Elon Musk』s Falcon Heavy rocket as a way to erode the monopoly that has held sway over US military space launches for the last dozen years.

五角大樓正將埃隆•馬斯克(Elon Musk)的獵鷹重型火箭(Falcon Heavy)成功發射視為削弱過去12年主宰美國軍事太空發射的壟斷力量的一條途徑。

SpaceX, the billionaire tech entrepreneur』s private space company, successfully returned two of three boosters used to fire its rocket into space back to earth on Tuesday, raising the prospect of cost savings that could enable the department of defence to take on riskier, cheaper launches as it seeks to defend space assets.

這位億萬富翁科技企業家的私人太空公司SpaceX本周二成功回收了三枚火箭助推器中的兩枚,帶來成本節省的前景,使美國國防部能夠在尋求捍衛太空資產之際從事更高風險且成本更低的發射活動。

Deputy defence secretary Patrick Shanahan, who also became the Pentagon』s lead for space last month, hailed the launch as 「encouraging」 and pointed to it among latest efforts from commercial companies that are disrupting the launch market.

上月成為五角大樓太空項目負責人的國防部副部長帕特里克•沙納汗(Patrick Shanahan)稱,這次發射「鼓舞人心」,並指出這是商業企業顛覆發射市場的最新努力。

「It』s pretty cool,」 said Mr Shanahan, a former Boeing executive, after learning of the boosters』 safe return. A third booster was not safely recovered and crashed into the sea.

曾是波音(Boeing)高管的沙納汗在得知助推器安全返回後表示:「這非常酷。」第三個助推器未能安全回收,而是墜入海中。

「The fact that those capabilities are being delivered creates affordability and affordability spawns new space concepts,」 he said.

他說:「正在交付的那些能力創造了可負擔性,而可負擔性催生新的太空概念。」

An official at US Air Force Space Command, which Mr Shanahan visited this week, told the Financial Times that the Air Force 「will use data」 from Tuesday』s launch as part of its process to certify the Falcon Heavy, which could enable it for use by the US military.

美國空軍太空司令部(US Air Force Space Command)的一位官員向英國《金融時報》表示,美國空軍「將把周二的發射數據」用作其認證獵鷹重型火箭的過程的一部分,從而可能讓它能為美國軍方所用。沙納汗本周走訪了美國空軍太空司令部。

Both the Pentagon and Nasa, which runs the US civilian space programme, have depended on a joint venture from Boeing and Lockheed Martin for rocket launch services since the pair initiated their United Launch Alliance in 2006.

五角大樓和負責美國民用航天計劃的國家航空航天局(NASA)都依靠波音和洛克希德•馬丁公司(Lockheed Martin)的一個合資企業提供火箭發射服務,這兩家公司在2006年成立聯合發射聯盟(United Launch Alliance,簡稱ULA)。

「The real thing is [with] so much innovation going on with space; why would we want to be left out of it? The [Falcon Heavy] launch is a good example,」 said Mr Shanahan, who also pointed to growing commercial efforts to launch smaller satellites.

沙納汗表示:「關鍵是考慮到太空領域有如此多的創新,我們為什麼要留在場外呢?此次(獵鷹重型火箭)的發射就是一個很好的例子。」他還指出,發射較小衛星的商業努力日益增多。

Air Force officials praise SpaceX among smaller new private outfits for introducing competition that is helping to bring down launch prices.

美國空軍官員稱讚SpaceX以及其他較小的新私人企業引入了競爭,有助於降低發射價格。

The Pentagon has so far awarded SpaceX two launch contracts with its smaller Falcon 9 launch vehicle. SpaceX is planning to launch a test payload from the Falcon Heavy as it works towards certification.

迄今為止,五角大樓授予SpaceX兩份發射合同,利用該公司較小型的獵鷹9號(Falcon 9)火箭。致力於獲得認證的SpaceX正計劃從獵鷹重型火箭發射一個測試載荷。

「It can lift a lot of things; so you can say if you made a really big satellite you can put it on that,」 said Mr Shanahan. 「It』s good capability to have available.」

沙納汗表示:「它可以運載很多東西;所以你可以說,如果你製作了一個非常大的衛星,你可以把它放在上面,這是很好的可用能力。」

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