Elon Musk and SpaceX have been doing some very cool things over the past decade with rockets. While the rockets SpaceX has been sending into space aren’t the sort capable of flying to the moon or Mars, they are capable of ferrying cargo safely to the ISS in Earth orbit and mostly returning to Earth in one piece. The big news this week was the unveiling of the SpaceX BFR (Big Falcon Rocket) spacecraft that can fly to the moon and beyond.
During the unveiling of the rocket, Musk said that the BFR already has its first passenger booked, but during the event, no names were offered. When Musk was asked if he was going to be the first passenger to fly around the moon, he simply tweeted a Japanese flag in response. That hint has now been confirmed with the name of the first passenger known - Yasaku Maezawa.
New specs for the rocket itself are also making the rounds. Musk has claimed that when the BFR is complete, it will be able to carry 100 tons of payload all the way to Mars. The catch is that the rocket would need to be refueled in orbit. BFR will be a massive beast standing almost 387-feet tall, about the same height as the Saturn V rocket NASA used to go to the moon. The main propulsion system will consist of 31 Raptor engines, each able to provide 5,400 tons of thrust. While the rocket is the BFR, the spaceship itself is called the BFS or Big Falcon Spaceship.
How big is it? The BFS aims to hold 100 passengers inside; Corbin Dallas would be proud. BFS itself will have six engines with a pair of those being designed to operate at atmospheric pressures at sea level and the others to operate in the vacuum of space. The new design also rocks three fins rather than two seen originally. The third fin was needed because landing legs will come out of the fins. Initial testing will be done with no passengers aboard the ship. Short hops in the BFS are expected to start in late 2019, and Musk wants BFR to head to Mars by 2022. Total cost to build BFR is about $5 billion.