Once upon a time, Elon Musk wanted to put something on Mars. He really, REALLY, wanted to put-something-on-mars. He was willing to buy rockets from Russia in order to do so. But it was astronomically costly and Elon was frustrated. So he came up with an idea. He’d build his own damn rockets. Few believed him and even fewer would work for him. So he decided to figure it out himself. His story is out there. Read it. My point is, Elon Musk is #RocketMan. Our own real live Tony Stark.
R Man recently spoke at the International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Austrailia. Turns out it was the 9th anniversary of SpaceX’s first successful launch of the Falcon1. That launch was key. It was the fourth launch after three brutal failures. It was the last chance before SpaceX ran out of money. Make or break, it was arguably the event that made SpaceX what it is today.
You can, and should, watch the talk here.
Here are some of the highlights of the first part of the extraordinary endeavor to become a multiplanet species.
Elon got to the point quickly. Humans need to believe that the future is brighter than our past. That there is a reason to get up every day. He’s given us that reason.
The first problem is to figure out how to pay for it. Yeah, that.
Apparently collecting underpants didn’t pan out. So they tweaked their plan to provide one booster and ship to replace Falcon9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon. This is what they came up with.
That first rocket is the Falcon 1, next is the Falcon 9, the Falcon Heavy and finally BFR.
That baby in the center is BFR. It’s a big fucking rocket. Really big. If you click on the image, there’s a spec on the far left. That’s a human.
If you click on the image, there’s a spec on the far left. That’s a human.
SpaceX as stuck 16 consecutive rocket landings thus far. In order to move forward with human cargo, we need to be able to land safely. BFR will do this. The next key piece is automated rendezvous and docking with the space station. Dragon2 will do this without the use of the arm and with zero human intervention.
Let’s take a look at the ship itself. She is stunning. Hello, sexy.
This is basically the Falcon 9 and upper stage combined. You could fit a whole stack of Falcon 1 rockets in the payload bay. Feeling the love yet?
Am I the only one getting turned on here?
Getting to Mars will take some number of months. Let’s say 3-6. This baby has 40 cabins, radiation storm shelter, and entertainment area, basically all the comforts of home. You could cram 5-6 people per cabin but 2-3 is more likely.
If we take a look up BFR’s skirts we have 4 raptor engines and 2 sea-level engines.
All are capable of gimbaling which means they can direct that thrust right to the sweet spot. Yeah, I’m feeling the love here. You only need one engine to land so we have redundancy to keep our fragile human bodies alive.
Now check this out. This is a chart showing the launch capability. It’s what you’d expect.
But here is where it get’s interesting. Because these babies are designed for reusability take a look at the launch cost chart.
Elon is hysterical as he discusses the whole reusability aspect of rockets. We build them to launch and then crash them every single time. Watch him around the 25min mark.
Elon plans to build a fleet of Falcon 9 and Dragon vehicles and then turn all their resources to building BFR. He believes they can do this using the revenue generated from launching satellites and servicing the space station.
He briefly touched on the capabilities and even the ability to collect old satellites and space debris. That’s going to need to happen someday.
Let’s get back to servicing the space station, shall we? Oh my. It is rather large, isn’t it? *fans self*
Is that a rocket in your pocket or are you just glad to see me?
What? It’s funny.
Okay, orbital refilling is also extremely important. Using a high elliptic parking orbit and refueling, we can go to the moon and back with no local propellant production. That means we can build a lunar base.
Sweet mother, I’m almost there.
In Elon’s words: “It’s 2017 we should have a lunar base by now. What the hell is going on?”
Couldn’t agree more. A simple low-tech crane will be used to get in and out of that baby. Better bring two of those just in case.
So, let’s hear it for a view like this someday.
Getting to Mars will require local propellant manufacturing. But Mars has C02 and H20 so we can produce fuel and oxygen.
His goals are intense. We’re talking 2 cargo ships on Mars, confirmation of water resources, hazard recon, power, mining and life support infrastructure for future flights all starting in 2022. I do love your aggressive schedules, Rocketman.
The first mission is to find the best source of water. Second is to build propellant plants.
They’ve already started building the system and hope to begin manufacturing the first ship in six to nine months.
Every two years we can make the flight.
Build out the base and start building the city.
Just an interesting tidbit, on Mars the sky is blue at dawn and dusk, and red during the day.
Elon finished up back on earth. And what a finish it was. Check this out. Seriously, you need to see this. It’s almost as good as sex. BFR Earth to Earth.
Using the same technology we could travel from New York to Shanghai in 39minutes. Hong Kong to Singapore in 22min, Los Angeles to Toronto in 24min.
Oh hell yes. I don’t know about you but I need a cigarette.
Rocket Man, you’re on my bucket list of people I want to meet in this lifetime. Wishing everyone an amazing day.