SpaceX’s BFR Moon Flyby

Back in 2016, Elon Musk’s private space company, SpaceX announced plans to build a breathtaking rocket called the ITS, or the Interplanetary Transport System.  The idea was to essentially build a Space Shuttle cross Falcon 9. In other words, a big Falcon 9 with a futuristic looking Space Shuttle-esque spaceship as the upper stage.  The vehicle would primarily carry humans to Mars and would be very cost effective. Their initial idea was to refuel the second stage/spaceship in LEO (Low Earth Orbit), so that it would have enough delta-v (presumably) to get to the red planet,  Mars.

A year later, in 2017 – Elon Musk stood up at IAC and announced the BFR or “Big Falcon Rocket”.  This craft was essentially an ITS but with a few optimizations, like the removal of grid fins on the first stage, and the general refining of the craft.  With the new design, SpaceX proposed using the BFR for all of its missions, with the rocket being so cheap, it would be able to replace both the Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy, they would essentially only need one rocket for everything – including a cool (also probably unrealistic) Earth to Earth transportation system.

Sidenote: I know how the Earth To Earth transportation system using the BFR would be a logistical and practical nightmare – but it would be awesome and I really hope they manage to tackle all of the major flaws.

This leads us to today, the 18th September 2018 (obviously this article was written before the launch of the new site).  Last night, there was an event at SpaceX, in Hawthorne, California – where Elon Musk announced the new plans for BFR, and a mission that, should it go ahead, will be revolutionary for the human race.  

The premise of the mission is that Japanese billionaire, Yusaku Maezawa, will be flown in the BFR, with a few other people, on a flyby of the moon.  It doesn’t sound that revolutionary, as it is one of the simpler missions you can do in terms of traveling to other celestial bodies – but you have to remember that we haven’t done something like this since the Apollo era!  Above all, this mission is being paid for by a citizen, something that has literally never been done before in the history of humans as a whole, it is really exciting. The mission is expected to happen in 2023, which is quite ambitious as it is.  I hate to be a bore, but I’d probably say that it is more realistic to assume 2026, but I’m not an expert in the field – I’m just an above average space fan with way too many hours in Kerbal Space Program.

The best of all the news is that we got an update to BFS (Big Falcon Ship), the second stage/spaceship portion of BFR. This new edition adds an extra wing to BFS and a brand new engine configuration.  I’m not too informed on the changes, but if you want to be, Everyday Astronaut did an awesome and informative live stream on that exact thing, so I recommend watching that, more than anything.

In conclusion, I am really looking forward to the future of Space travel, it is exciting either way you look at it.  I’m planning to cover a lot of Space and SpaceX content here on this site, so please stick around if you are interested in that.

Footnote:

This article was written in September of 2018.  Since we have heard the news that BFS is now called: Starship.  All information is (to my knowledge), all factually correct.

Images from Pixabay

Everyday Astronaut’s Awesome Stream: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbbBJ3CqsTE

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