Falcon 9 to Be Converted into Downsized Big Falcon Rocket, First Flight in June

Big Falcon Ship taking off from Mars - SpaceX rendering 1 photo
Photo: SpaceX
As the year of hopefully kept promises in space exploration approaches – there are plans to launch about half a dozen spaceships currently in development – SpaceX upped the ante with news of a downsized version of its Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) being planned.
The news was made public via Twitter by the company’s CEO, Elon Musk, who said SpaceX plans to upgrade the second stage of a Falcon 9 rocket and turn it into a mini-version of the BFR. The goal is to have it fly to orbit next June as a means to test the systems for the real thing on this scaled-down version of it.

SpaceX’s Big Falcon Rocket is the generic name given to the rocket-spaceship assembly the company will use in the not-so-distant future to launch humans to the International Space Station, the Moon, and Mars.

Powering the BFR combo will be a reusable booster that measures 58 meters long (190 feet), inspired by the successful one used on the Falcon 9.

The spaceship that sits on top of the booster is at times referred to as the Big Falcon Ship (BFS). The BFS is a bullet-like construction 48 meters in length (157 feet) and with a diameter of 9 meters (30 feet). More than half of the ship will be occupied by two tanks, one capable of holding 240 tons of fuel and the other 860 tons of liquid oxygen.

Construction plans for the spaceship call for the creation of 40 cabins for crew, which means that if you place two people in one cabin about 80 of them could be flown at the same time to solar system destinations.

As per Elon Musk’s earlier statements, two BFRs are to launch towards the Red Planet carrying cargo in preparation for human arrival by 2022. In 2024, two other ships, this time crewed, are planned to be launched toward the same location.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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