It’s time! Can you believe we’re only a few years away from colonizing Mars? Imagine a world or two in fact, where you will be able to travel to our life on the Moon or Mars, during our lifetimes, with a commercial and public rocket.
It’s all coming together. As SpaceX’s CEO, Elon Musk speaks at a Mars colonization conference on Thursday, September 28, 2017, to discuss his plans for his almost comic-like Mars Spaceship.
We will be “becoming a multi-planetary species.” As Elon Musk puts it so aptly, “I think the future is vastly more exciting and interesting if we are a space-bearing civilization and a multi-planet species than if we are not.”
In almost, an hour-long speech, announcing SpaceX’s progress, Musk introduces the new design to the inter-planetary rocket in development, code-named, BFR, possibly standing forBig Freaking Rocket’ because as of now, Elon hasn’t even named his unborn baby, so we’ll just have to wait to find out.
The new rocket, running on 1000 cubic meters of liquid Oxygen, will create Oxygen gas when burned as rocket fuel. Using this type of fuel along with liquid methane is one of the cheapest and efficient methods discovered so far to boost a rocket. Even though this reusable rocket, being able to hold over 100 people is considerably cheap for is extravagant size, almost the size of the ISS; finding ways to pay the costs of launching the ‘payload’ to Mars are still being pondered, as Elon comments, “how do we pay for this thing?”
But the SpaceX team has found a way. “Essentially we want to make our current vehicles redundant. We want to have one system, one booster, and ship that replaces Falcon, Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon [previous successful SpaceX rockets]. So if we can do that, then all the resources that are used for Falcon, 9, Heavy, and Dragon can be applied to this system”, eliminating the need for new resources that cost millions of dollars. This plan will achieve SpaceX’s ultimate goal, to make reusable and affordable space-travel vehicles. As SpaceX boasts, the BFR multi-planetary rocket will be the cheapest and most efficient rocket and system, built out of all 14 of SpaceX’s rockets.
Over the past years, SpaceX has been working on perfecting the ‘Carbon Fiber Matrix’, “that is much stronger and capable at Cryo than anything before.”
Along with this new fuel tank, which will be vital in making the rocket light, the engines of BFR are extremely efficient, and “will have the highest thruster weight of any engine of any kind ever made”, Elon Musk adds.
Elon explains the design of the Delta Wing, allowing the spaceship to smoothly pass through an atmosphere of any natural density. As well as explaining safety and reassurance features of the rocket engines, such as 6 engines with an extra in the center in case one fails, the rocket will be capable of safely landing.
Elon Musk’s drive to reusable rockets as he expresses is because, “it’s really crazy that we built all these sophisticated rockets, and then crash them everytime we fly- this is mad!”
During the speech, Elon explains his fuel-refill method during orbit, sending up another tanker to ‘mate’ with the BFR and transfer fuel, essential refilling the oxygen tank for a full 150 ton flight to Mars, using all of the Falcon’s and Dragons resources combined to fund this project along with revenue collected from satellite launches.
Later, Elon brings up the ability complete Lunar Surface Missions, a full round trip, with no propellant production on the surface of the moon. “This will enable the creation of a Lunar Base- I mean it’s 2017, we should have a Lunar Base by now, what the hell’s goin’ on!”
The SpaceX CEO mentions that he feels fairly confident that his SpaceX team can complete the ship and be ready for a launch in about 5 years. Even Elon knows that SpaceX’s progress is outstanding as he subtly brags, “yeah, 5 years seems like a long time to me”, and the crowd cheers.
“That’s our goal, to make the 2022 Mars Rendezvous. Earth-Mars synchronization happens roughly every 2 years. So every 2 years there’s an opportunity for a flight to Mars, [at least one that won’t be overwhelmingly expensive due to the cost of extra fuel to follow the planetary orbit of Mars, spinning farther and farther from Earth]. So then in 2024, we want to try to fly 4 ships…. With 6 ships there, we should have plenty of landed mass to construct the propellant depot, which will consist of… a very large array of solar panels, then start building up the city, then making the city bigger- and bigger… and over time, terraforming Mars and making it a nice place to be.”
Elon explains, that this genre of BFR rocket will be available for use not only between planets and our galaxy, but throughout places on Earth as well, ultimately allowing people of Earth to travel to most places on Earth, in under 30 minutes, and anywhere in under 1 hour.
The future is near, and becoming a space-bearing species will happen in our lifetime, even before our generation graduates college, maybe we’ll even be able to go on vacation to Mars with our future kids one day.