The BFR (Big "F***ing" Rocket) is a rocket-spaceship hybrid spawned from the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS) concept that Musk revealed last year. According to Seeker, this space Godzilla effectively tramples his already monstrous Falcon 9 booster, Falcon Heavy rocket and Dragon capsule in favor of a 348-foot-tall leviathan that can launch 150 tons into the upper atmosphere and a hundred brave humans to Mars. While it has scaled back Musk’s ITS brainchild, 31 Raptor engines instead of 42 really doesn’t sound like much of a downgrade—at least to us Earthlings.
The name of this rocket alone suggests a galactic budget, which SpaceX will be able to afford by vaporizing its other beasts.
"If we can do that, then all the resources that are used for Falcon 9, Heavy, and Dragon can be applied to this system," Musk said at the recent International Astronautical Congress (IAC), where he also plugged future Mars settlement concepts (again). "That's really fundamental."
SpaceX won’t just be using the BFR to make us Martians. The reusable rocket will be blasting everything from satellites to ISS supplies into space, possibly setting up a lunar outpost and clearing out potentially hazardous space junk. Musk even has a vision for the rocket to jet people from place to place right here on Earth, so you could potentially take off and arrive at the other side of the planet in all the time it takes to drive to an airport, and all for the price of an economy-class ticket without the economy-class inconveniences. Don’t believe it?
Maybe you still don’t, but think about that on the next trip you have to take at 4 a.m. because you’re flying through several time zones.
Not that it’s R.I.P. for other SpaceX species yet. With its first Mars mission set for 2022 and plans to take human cargo to the Red Planet in 2024, the BFR is making people nervous until they can be positive it won’t crash and burn. Musk plans to pre-build enough Falcon 9 and Dragon spacecraft so anyone who is apprehensive about riding a big frakking rocket can sleep at night before the journey. Then the mastermind will shift all his attention to the BFR.
Even if it takes a while to get the BFR shooting for Mars, the possibility of it shuttling people anywhere on the planet for under half an hour should have Boeing feeling very, very scared.