Design On September 29th, 2017, SpaceX CEO and Lead Designer Elon Musk presented an updated vehicle design for what’s currently being referred to as BFR. This single system—one booster and one ship—will eventually replace Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon. By creating a single system that can service a variety of markets, SpaceX can redirect resources from Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon to the BFR system. The updated design solves this problem by leveraging a slightly smaller vehicle that can service all greater Earth orbit needs as well as the Moon and Mars.
Missions To Mars Our aspirational goal is to send our first cargo mission to Mars in 2022. The objectives for the first mission will be to confirm water resources and identify hazards along with putting in place initial power, mining, and life support infrastructure. A second mission, with both cargo and crew, is targeted for 2024, with primary objectives of building a propellant depot and preparing for future crew flights. The ships from these initial missions will also serve as the beginnings of our first Mars base, from which we can build a thriving city and eventually a self-sustaining civilization on Mars.
The BFR launch vehicle is planned to replace all existing SpaceX vehicles and spacecraft by the early 2020s. SpaceX cost estimation has led the company to conclude that BFR launches will be cheaper per launch than launches of the existing vehicles and even cheaper than launches of the retired Falcon 1 This is partly due to the full reusability of all parts of BFR, but also due to precision landing of the booster on its launch mount and industry-leading launch operations. More specifically, both Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles and the Dragon spacecraft being flown today will be replaced by BFR in the operatoinal SpaceX fleet during the early 2020s
Scope of BFR Challenges SpaceX wants to build methane propellant plants on the surface of mars that would create fuel for the spaceships on the Red Planet. Rather than carrying that fuel from Earth. Methane can be created on Mars with relative ease, because it can be synthesized from subsurface ice and carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
Transcontinental Transport
With BFR, most of what people consider to be long distance trips would be completed in less than half an hour. In addition to vastly increased speed, one great thing about traveling in space is there is almost no friction. Once the ship leaves the atmosphere, there is no turbulence or weather. Consider how much time we currently spend traveling from one place to another. Now imagine most journeys taking less than 30 minutes, with access to anywhere in the world in an hour or less.