Elon Musk, the head and founder of SpaceX, announced he is currently working on a new rocketship. Code named “BFR”, it will be capable of traveling anywhere on Earth in under an hour.
The bold announcement, which caught everyone by surprise, suggests that Musk’s Space Exploration could fundamentally revolutionize air travel by greatly shortening flight time. In theory, a flight from Los Angeles to Shanghai, which usually lasts 14 hours, could be shortened to just 25 minutes.
“If we are going to places like Mars, why not use rockets for traveling here on Earth?” Musk said Friday at the 68th International Astronautical Congress on Friday in Adelaide, Australia.
Musk added that SpaceX, which has launched 13 rockets so far this year, aims to complete 30 missions for customers next year. The company’s vision is to use contracts for satellite operators to secure funds for the BFR. But Musk himself is also willing to use his own funds to help the project.
Red Dragon and Falcon 9
The BFR comes as a follow-up to the Red Dragon,an unmanned spacecraft which is expected to be launched to Mars this year.
Meanwhile, the Falcon 9, another SpaceX project under the spotlight, is living up to the hype, with numerous orders from NASA, satellite operators and US military. SpaceX is also cooperating with Hawthorne, a California – based company which plans to launch its own satellite network.
What makes Falcon 9 stand out from its competition is its ability to land back on Earth, which makes it reusable and thus lowers its operation costs and launch costs to just around $62 million. Furthermore, SpaceX acutally gives discounts to those who place multiple orders, thus securing acquiring long-term clients, but also making space exploration and travel more affordable and practical.
On the other hand, SpaceX is also working on the Falcon Heavy, a far more powerful rocket capable of heavy payloads and sending paying space tourists on a flight around the moon.
Mars is next
As space travel advances, manned missions to Mars are slowly making their way out of science fiction and into reality. The exploration of the Red planet got an enormous boost in August 2012, when NASA’s Curiosity Rover landed on the red planet. The robotic vehicle transmits breathtaking, high-resolution photographs of the dune-and butte-filled landscape to the delight of scientists and Curiosity’s 3.8 million Twitter followers.
Still, there are many challenges that need to be resolved before mankind could establish its first sustainable base on the Red planet.
First, there’s the problem of getting there, as even the fastest rockets would take several months to reach it. Furthermore, if space explorers survive the 155 million-mile journey and subsequent first-ever manned landing, they would need to get to work immediately to create a habitable atmosphere and produce enough fuel needed to propel the rocket ship homeward.
But Musk remains optimistic about it and believes other investors will join in and help space exploration projects.
Did you like this story? Don't forget to share with your friends!Share on Facebook
For more stories, like us on Facebook