If all goes according to CEO Elon Musk’s ambitious plans, his aerospace company SpaceX will land two cargo ships on Mars in 2022. That’s five years from now, as Musk explained at a presentation at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia. Oh, and he also offered up some peeks at the company's plans for moon and Mars bases. Yes, please.
All this will conceivably come to pass with the help of SpaceX's new rocket, the B.F.R., where B is for big, R Is for Rocket and F is for adult eyes only. The B.F.R. is only 9 meters in diameter, yet it will be able to lift 150 metric tons to low Earth orbit. The New York Times describes the rocket as more powerful than the Saturn 5 built for the Apollo program.
The B.F.R. will be the first stage in a two-stage-to-orbit craft. After the B.F.R. takes SpaceX’s craft out of orbit, the rocket will return to Earth. The spaceship itself will head to Mars, a trip that will take between 150 to 300 days, depending on the alignment of the Earth and Mars. Musk is also pitching plans to use the rocket for Earth travel, with the ability to get pretty much anywhere on the planet in under an hour.
This rocket will be ferrying a ship with up to 100 passengers at a time. SpaceX hopes to be taking passengers to Mars two years after the first cargo missions, in 2024.
The B.F.R. will be supplanting SpaceX’s current Falcon 9, which on July 3, 2017, became the the first rocket to fly a commercial cargo spacecraft more than once—in other words, a reusable rocket, the holy grail of cost-effective space travel.
And speaking of costs, Musk did not mention how Spacex will be funding itself. But Musk later clarified, “Cost per seat should be about the same as full fare economy in an aircraft. Forgot to mention that.”
Low-cost travel to Mars and the Moon? This is chock full o’ awesome, hell-yeah-human-ingenuity goodness. We’re looking forward to Musk making our geeky dreams come true. The B.F.R. is truly a BFD.
Musk also plans to establish a lunar base, as well as his long-planned Mars base, though details on those projects were a bit more scarce, understandably. Thankfully, that didn't stop Musk from dropping some stunning concept art of what those bases might look like.
Considering Musk wants to colonize Mars and the moon privately, does that mean Spacex — and not Weyland-Yutani — is "the company"?
(Via The New York Times)