Enlarge / SpaceX launched its first military payload on May 1. Now the US House of Representatives said the military should consider reusable rockets. (credit: SpaceX)
The US Congress has begun the “markup” process to consider budget appropriations for fiscal year 2018, and on Thursday, the House subcommittee overseeing Strategic Forces held a hearing for the National Defense Authorization Act.

This bill provides funding for the military, including the Air Force, which oversees efforts to launch spy and communications satellites, as well as other national defense payloads.
As part of the process, Arizona Republican Trent Franks offered an amendment that stated the government should move rapidly to evaluate the potential use of reusable space launch vehicles such as those being flown by SpaceX.

Co-sponsored by New Jersey Democrat Donald Norcross, the amendment passed on a voice vote.

This represents a remarkable turnaround for SpaceX and the federal government.

After filing a lawsuit against the Air Force three years ago for the right to bid on military launch contracts, the California-based company only began flying military payloads for the government in May. Now lawmakers seem to be warming quickly to the company’s vision of low-cost access to space.
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