Have Rocket, Will Travel
Elon Musk talks rocket travel around Earth, a base on the Moon, and a city on Mars
The future has arrived! Musk spoke today at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Australia about a reusable rocket called the Interplanetary Transport System:
The new rocket and spaceship would replace everything that SpaceX is currently launching or plans to launch in the near future. “That’s really fundamental,” Mr. Musk said.
Mr. Musk called it B.F.R. (The “B” stands for “big”; the “R” is for “rocket.”) The B.F.R. would be able to lift 150 metric tons to low-Earth orbit, Mr. Musk said.
For Mars colonists, the rocket would lift a spaceship with 40 cabins, and with two to three people per cabin, it would carry about 100 people per flight. After launching, the B.F.R. booster would return to the launching pad; the spaceship would continue to orbit, where it would refill its tanks of methane and oxygen propellant before embarking on the monthslong journey to Mars.
The same spaceship could also land on the moon. “It’s 2017,” Mr. Musk said. “We should have a lunar base by now.”
Even on Earth, the rockets, traveling at up to 18,000 miles per hour, could make long-distance trips short — New York to Shanghai in 39 minutes, for example. Any two points on Earth would be less than an hour apart, Mr. Musk said.