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Will United Launch Alliances's Vulcan rocket fly by 2023 (a.k.a. Will Elon Musk eat his hat with a side of mustard?)


After a stunning success with the Falcon Heavy, Elon Musk is taking aim at his rivals in the rocketry business. In a brisk back-and-forth with on twitter, upon the suggestion that United Launch Alliance (ULA)'s upcoming "Vulcan" rocket would be carrying payloads in the early 2020s, Musk responded:

Maybe that plan works out, but I will seriously eat my hat with a side of mustard if that rocket flies a national security spacecraft before 2023.

This taunt seems calculated to help push a space race, which Musk has publicly acknowledged is a goal of his.

We'll play along, and ask:

By Jan 1 2023, will a rocket built by ULA and named Vulcan (or be the project that "Vulcan" is currently referring to) be launched with a spacecraft related to US (or other nation) national security?

For positive resolution the launch/deployment need not be successful, and "National Security" can be interpreted somewhat broadly.

In case of positive resolution we can ask a followup question as to whether Musk actually eats a hat.

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