How well will the BFR missile do

Successful start of the Falcon Heavy paves the way for larger projects

That may sound ambitious, but according to Musk, the BFR is not that far off. In the press conference after the launch of the Falcon Heavy, Musk shocked the journalists present with the revelation that he would like to start testing the BFR with short, vertical jumps as soon as next year. SpaceX is currently planning to land the giant spaceship with cargo on Mars as early as 2022.

But Musk himself admits that this extremely optimistic schedule is "ambitious". The launch of the Falcon Heavy was postponed for years due to design revisions and other delays.

Until then, it is quite possible that the Falcon Heavy will play a larger role in scientific missions and bring smaller instruments to various locations in the solar system. Participation in future lunar missions such as those planned by NASA is also possible.

“She can shoot things straight at Pluto and beyond. It can bring satellites into space - it can do everything, ”said Musk.

"If I were a mission developer like I was then and had the Falcon Heavy available, I would start designing launch scenarios right away - how many tons can I get into lunar orbit?" Says G. Scott Hubbard. He is an aviation expert and the former head of NASA's Ames Research Center. "That would immediately become part of the planning."

But the future path of the Falcon Heavy still holds some obstacles in store. Any missile used on high priority missions must prove that it is reliable. A single successful start demonstrates that there are no gross design errors. But more launches are needed to demonstrate the basic reliability of the spacecraft.

"It doesn't matter how much money you save if you lose the payload because the government doesn't insure it - it can't," said Casey Dreier, director of space policy for the Planetary Society. "Reliability will be the key factor."

In addition, SpaceX is anything but unrivaled. As Loren Gosh from "The Verge" noted in May, SpaceX and its competitors are competing to develop ever more powerful rockets. Some of these could also overlap in their specifications with NASA's Space Launch System, the large rocket currently under development.

But it doesn't matter who wins the race for the hearts or the contracts in the end: Musk and other personalities in the industry are convinced that these advances represent great ideas that can significantly change the history of mankind.

"Why are we doing this? To do two things: So that we can advance the human presence beyond Earth in any form and to be able to send spacecraft, telescopes and people beyond Earth orbit, ”says Dreier. “We are building a potential to face the challenge of exploring and understanding the cosmos. Basically, that's a really wonderful thing that we're doing as a species. "

Musk would add a third reason: "I want a space race," he said. "Races are exciting."

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