SpaceX’s next giant rocket, the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) does not exist in any capacity beyond design, and some parts are in manufacturing facilities, but it’s already getting a new name. CEO Elon Musk casually announced the change on Twitter, as he has to do. The BFR is now known as Starship, but it’s not as simple as it sounds at first.
Previously, the naming scheme for the rocket was more complex than widely understood. Den del af raketen, som ville operere i rummet, var faktisk kaldt Big Falcon Spaceship (BFS). Together with the booster portion that helped it escape Earth’s gravity, it was the Big Falcon Rocket.
According to Musk, Starship will refer to the upper stage that operates in space (and could carry people). The rocket booster portion is just called “Super Heavy.” Musk also stresses that Super Heavy will not be necessary for Starship to lift off from other planets and moons with less gravity than Earth.
Renaming the BFR to Starship seems a bit grandiose for a vehicle that will not travel to any other stars. Selvom, den alltid bombastiske Musk noterede sig i en opfølgning tweet at fremtidige versioner af Starship ville gå til andre stjerner . Sure, Elon.
Back in the realm of opportunity, SpaceX hopes to make the giant 387-foot rocket the core of its spaceflight operations. It could single-handedly replace the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon capsule. Like the Falcon rockets, the Starship and Super Heavy are reusable, or at least they are intended to be reusable in the future. SpaceX is still building the prototype Starship at a facility in the Port of Los Angeles, which will cost the company around $ 5 billion.
When it’s operational, the Starship would be able to transport up to 100 passengers or 100 tons of cargo all the way to Mars. SpaceX could conduct test launches of the rocket as early as 2020, and the first commercial missions could take place a few years later. The only mission currently on the books is the space tourist lunar flyby, funded by Japanese fashion entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa.
The BFR suffered several delays, and the name change will not make the rocket any easier to build. So, this time line could still slip as SpaceX was trying to create a completely new type of rocket.
Now read: SpaceX Is Building Its BFR In Los Angeles, And Congress May Not Be Happy, Elon Musk Says Mars Rocket Could Fly Passengers Anywhere on Earth in an Hour, and SpaceX to Launch Japanese Startup’s Lunar Missions