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SpaceX to build “Mini BFR” version of Mars Rocket to fly on Falcon 9, says Elon Musk

SpaceX aims to launch flight control test components in its Mars-settling spacecraft next year, founder and CEO Elon Musk said.…

SpaceX aims to launch flight control test components in its Mars-settling spacecraft next year, founder and CEO Elon Musk said.

The plan involves upgrading the top step of SpaceX’s workhorse Falcon 9 rocket “to be like a mini-BFR ship,” says Musk via Twitter Wednesday (7 November).

“Visiting Orbital Flight in June,” he said in another tweet. [The BFR in Images: SpaceX’s Giant Spaceship for Mars & Beyond]

BFR, or Big Falcon Rocket, is the giant reusable launcher SpaceX develops to help solve Mars and perform a host of other space fans. Each rocket will be peaked by a 100-person spacecraft (BFS), which will be able to complete many round trips to the red planet, Musk has said.

An artist’s illustration depicting SpaceX BFR spacecraft on the Mars surface.

Credit: SpaceX

The forthcoming Falcon 9 modification will apparently help SpaceX better understand some of the more demanding flight regimes that BFS will experience.

“Ultra light heat shield and high Mach control surfaces are what we can not test well without orbital entry,” Musk said in another tweet.

The newly developed upper stage will not make a prominent landing on earth because about 30 Falcon 9 first stages have done so far (and as the BFS will do on Mars, the moon and other cosmic destinations), Sade Musk.

“I think we have a handle on propelled landings,” he tweeted. In another two, he added that SpaceX is building a “BFR dev-ship to make supersonic by landing test in Boca Chica, Texas.” That location in southern Texas will be the company’s hub for BFR and BFS testing, SpaceX representatives said.

If everything goes well with BFR-BFS development, the duo can begin by transporting people to Mars in the mid-2020s, according to Musk. The long-term goal is to help create a million-person city on the Red Planet – ideally in the next 50 to 100 years.

SpaceX predicts the delivery of all its space flow work to BFR and BFS in the end. The system will be able to do all that SpaceX asks about, from launching satellites to the ground to clear up space rubbish to ferry people on superfast point-to-point trips on Earth, Musk has said.

Mike Wall’s book about the search for alien life, “ Out There ,” will be published on November 13th by Grand Central Publishing. Follow him on Twitter @michaeldwall . Follow us @Spacedotcom or Facebook . Originally published on Space.com .

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