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The Big Falcon Rocket (officially shortened to BFR) is a privately funded next-generation fully reusable launch vehicle and spacecraft system in development by SpaceX. The overall space vehicle architecture includes both launch vehicles and spacecraft, as well as ground infrastructure for rapid launch and relaunch, and zero-gravity propellant transfer technology to be deployed in low Earth orbit (LEO). The payload capacity to Earth orbit of at least 100,000 kg (220,000 lb) makes BFR a super heavy-lift launch vehicle.
SpaceX rendering of BFR, 2018.
|Country of origin||United States|
|Project cost||US$5–10 billion, estimated|
|Cost per launch|
|Height||118 m (387 ft)|
|Diameter||9 m (30 ft)|
|Mass||4,400,000 kg (9,700,000 lb) [needs update]|
|Payload to LEO||
>100,000 kg (220,000 lb)|
|Payload to Mars||
100,000 kg (220,000 lb)|
(with orbital refueling)
|Payload to Earth from Mars (return)||50,000 kg (110,000 lb)[needs update]|
Interplanetary flights: |
|First stage – Booster|
|Length||63 m (207 ft) |
|Diameter||9 m (30 ft)|
|Gross mass||3,065,000 kg (6,757,000 lb)|
|Engines||31 × Raptor|
|Thrust||52.7 MN (11,800,000 lbf) sea level |
|Specific impulse||330 s (3.2 km/s) each engine, sea level|
4 / LOX
|Second stage – Spaceship (BFS)|
|Length||55 m (180 ft) |
|Diameter||9 m (30 ft)|
|Empty mass||85,000 kg (187,000 lb)|
|Gross mass||1,335,000 kg (2,943,000 lb)|
|Engines||7 × sea-level Raptor, option to develop vacuum-optimized Raptors that can be swapped out with aft racks|
|Thrust||12.7 MN (2,900,000 lbf) total|
|Specific impulse||330 s (3.2 km/s) |
4 / LOX
SpaceX have been developing a super heavy-lift launch vehicle for many years, and the exact design (and nomenclature) of the vehicle has undergone multiple revisions over time. Before 2016, the vehicle was referred to as the Mars Colonial Transporter (MCT), though very few details about the design of the MCT were ever made public. Starting from 2016, SpaceX began sharing annual updates with the public, detailing the designs and uses of their upcoming new launch vehicle. In 2016, the vehicle was presented at the International Astronautical Congress as the ITS launch vehicle, forming a core part of Musk's comprehensive vision for an Interplanetary Transport System (ITS). The ITS vehicle had a 12-meter (39 ft) core diameter, but was only intended for interplanetary travel. In September 2017, the design (now known as the BFR) was scaled down to 9 meters (30 ft) While the ITS had been solely aimed at Mars transit and other interplanetary uses, SpaceX pivoted to a plan that would support all SpaceX launch service provider capabilities with a single set of 9-meter vehicles: Earth orbit, lunar orbit, Interplanetary spaceflight, and potentially, even intercontinental passenger transport on Earth. In September 2018, the second stage was redesigned, adding steerable canards, two radially adjustable wings also acting as landing legs, and a third leg that looks like a vertical stabilizer but has no aerodynamic function due to the special re-entry profile of the spacecraft.
The launch vehicle design is dependant on the concurrent development work on the Raptor rocket engines, which are cryogenic methalox-fueled engines to be used for both stages of the BFR launch vehicle. Development for on the Raptor began in 2012, leading to engine testing which began in 2016.
The BFR system is intended to completely replace all of SpaceX's existing space hardware (the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launch vehicles, and the Dragon spacecraft), initially aiming at the Earth-orbit launch market, but explicitly adding substantial capability to support long-duration spaceflight in the cislunar and Mars transport flight environments.
Elon Musk has long spoken of his personal goal of enabling human exploration of Mars. Disappointed at the lack of progress, Musk in 2001 conceptualized Mars Oasis, a project to land a miniature experimental greenhouse and grow plants on Mars, in an attempt to regain public interest in space exploration and increase the budget of NASA. After attempts to purchase Dnepr rockets from Russia failed, Musk in 2001 founded SpaceX with the stated aim of "enabling life to become multiplanetary".
The goal of enabling human exploration gradually transformed into colonization of Mars,and it became clear that very large launch vehicles would be required. Additional information about the mission architecture was released between 2011 and 2015, including a 2014 statement that the first crewed missions would arrive at Mars no earlier than the middle of the 2020s with the primary objective of building a propellant production depot. Company statements in 2016 indicated that SpaceX was "being intentionally fuzzy about the timeline ... We're going to try and make as much progress as we can with a very constrained budget."
SpaceX have indicated that they only intend to create the transport system to Mars, and that other aspects of colonization (habitats, mining, etc.) will need to be contributed by third parties. A successful colonization would ultimately involve many more economic actors—whether individuals, companies, or governments—to facilitate the growth of the human presence on Mars over many decades. Work contributed by others will allow colonization to progress far beyond what SpaceX projects to build alone.
In March 2012, news accounts asserted that a Raptor upper-stage engine had begun development, although details were not released at that time. In October 2012, Musk publicly stated a high-level plan to build a second reusable rocket system with capabilities substantially beyond the Falcon 9/Falcon Heavy launch vehicles on which SpaceX had by then spent several billion US dollars. This new vehicle was to be "an evolution of SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster ... 'much bigger'." But Musk indicated that SpaceX would not be speaking publicly about it until 2013.
In June 2013, Musk stated that he intended to hold off any potential initial public offering of SpaceX shares on the stock market until after the "Mars Colonial Transporter is flying regularly."
In August 2014, media sources speculated that the initial flight test of the Raptor-driven super-heavy launch vehicle could occur as early as 2020, in order to fully test the engines under orbital spaceflight conditions; however, any colonization effort was reported to be "deep into the future".
In early 2015, Musk said that he hoped to release details in late 2015 of the "completely new architecture" for the system that would enable the colonization of Mars. Those plans were delayed, following a launch failure in June 2015 until after SpaceX returned to flight in late December 2015.
In September 2016, at the 67th annual meeting of the International Astronautical Congress, Musk unveiled substantial details of the design for the transport vehicles. At the time, the system architecture was referred to as the "Interplanetary Transport System" (ITS) the details announced at IAC included the very large size (12 meters (39 ft) core diameter), construction material, number and type of engines, thrust, cargo and passenger payload capabilities, in-orbit propellant-tanker refills, representative transit times, and portions of the Mars-side and Earth-side infrastructure that SpaceX intends to build to support a set of three flight vehicles. The three distinct vehicles that made up the ITS launch vehicle in the 2016 design were the:
- ITS booster, the first-stage of the launch vehicle
- ITS spaceship, a second-stage and long-duration in-space spacecraft
- ITS tanker, an alternative second-stage designed to carry more propellant for refueling other vehicles in space
In addition, Musk spoke of a larger systemic vision, aspirationally hoping that other interested parties (whether companies, individuals, or governments) would utilize the new and significantly lower-cost transport infrastructure that SpaceX as to build in order to help build a sustainable human civilization on Mars, and so meeting the demand that such a growing venture would occasion.
In the 2016 plan, SpaceX aimed to fly its earliest research spacecraft missions to Mars using its Falcon Heavy launch vehicle and a modified Dragon spacecraft, called Red Dragon prior to the completion, and first launch, of any ITS launch vehicle. Later Mars missions using ITS were slated at that time to begin no earlier than 2022. Those plans later changed, initially with a February 2017 announcement that no SpaceX Mars mission would occur before 2020, two years later than the previously mentioned 2018 Falcon Heavy/Dragon2 exploratory mission, and then, in July 2017, by dropping the plan to use a soft lander Red Dragon spacecraft entirely.
In July 2017, Musk indicated that the architecture had "evolved quite a bit" since the 2016 articulation of the Mars architecture. A key driver of the updated architecture was to be making the system useful for substantial Earth-orbit and cislunar launches so that the system might pay for itself, in part, through economic spaceflight activities in the near-Earth space zone.
In September 2017, at the 68th annual meeting of the International Astronautical Congress, SpaceX unveiled the updated vehicle architecture. Musk said "we are searching for the right name, but the code name, at least, is BFR." The 2017 design is a 9-meter (30 ft) diameter technology, using methalox-fueled Raptor rocket engine technology directed initially at the Earth-orbit and cislunar environment, later, being used for flights to Mars.
Aerodynamics of the BFR second stage (the Big Falcon Spaceship, or BFS) changed from the 2016-design launch vehicle. The 2017 design is cylindrical with a small delta wing at the rear end which includes a split flap for pitch and roll control. The delta wing and split flaps are needed to expand the flight envelope to allow the ship to land in a variety of atmospheric densities (no, thin, or heavy atmosphere) with a wide range of payloads (small, heavy, or none) in the nose of the ship.:18:05–19:25 There are three versions of the ship: BFS cargo, BFS tanker, and BFS crew. The cargo version will be used to launch satellites to low Earth orbit—delivering "significantly more satellites at a time than anything that has been done before"—as well as for cargo transport to the Moon and Mars. After retanking in a high-elliptic Earth orbit the spaceship is being designed to be able to land on the Moon and return to Earth without further refueling.:31:50
Additionally, the BFR system would have the capability to carry passengers and/or cargo in rapid Earth-to-Earth transport, delivering its payload anywhere on Earth within 90 minutes.
As of September 2017[update], Raptor engines had been tested for a combined total of 1200 seconds of test firing time over 42 main engine tests. The longest test was 100 seconds, which is limited by the size of the propellant tanks at the SpaceX ground test facility. The test engine operates at 20 MPa (200 bar; 2,900 psi) pressure. The flight engine is aimed for 25 MPa (250 bar; 3,600 psi), and SpaceX expects to achieve 30 MPa (300 bar; 4,400 psi) in later iterations. In November 2017, SpaceX president and COO Gwynne Shotwell indicated that approximately half of all current development work on BFR is focused on the Raptor engine.
The aspirational goal is to send the first two cargo missions to Mars in 2022, with the goal to "confirm water resources and identify hazards" while putting "power, mining, and life support infrastructure" in place for future flights, followed by four ships in 2024, two crewed BFR spaceships plus two cargo-only ships bringing additional equipment and supplies with the goal of setting up the propellant production plant.
In an announcement held at SpaceX's Hawthorne headquarters in September 2018, Elon Musk showed a redesign of the BFS with added wings and canard fins. The new BFR concept has seven same-sized Raptor engines in the second stage. The second stage also has two small actuating fins near the nose of the ship, and three large fins at the base, two of which actuate, and all three doubling as landing legs.
As of 2018, a new production facility to build the vehicles is under construction in the Port of Los Angeles. Manufacture of the first ship was underway by March 2018 with first suborbital test flights planned for 2019. The company publicly stated an aspirational goal for initial Mars-bound cargo flights of BFR launching as early as 2022, followed by the first crewed flight to Mars one synodic period later, in 2024. Additionally, the BFR is to be used for the SpaceX lunar tourism mission, a proposed private mission to fly space tourists around the Moon, crewed by Yusaku Maezawa along with a few artists from different art backgrounds.
Construction of manufacturing facilityEdit
Around 2015, SpaceX was scouting for manufacturing facility locations to build the large rocket, with locations being investigated in California, Texas, Louisiana, and Florida. By September 2017, SpaceX had already started building launch vehicle components. "The tooling for the main tanks has been ordered, the facility is being built, we will start construction of the first ship [in the second quarter of 2018.]"
In March 2018, SpaceX indicated that it would manufacture its next-generation, 9-meter-diameter (30 ft) launch vehicle and spaceship at a new facility the company will construct in 2018–2019 on Seaside Drive near Berth 240. The company has leased an 18-acre site for 10 years, with multiple renewals possible, and will use the site for manufacturing, recovery from shipborne landings, and refurbishment of both the BFR booster and the BFR spaceship. Final approval of the new manufacturing facility came from the Board of Harbor Commissioners in April 2018, and the Los Angeles City Council in May. At that time, around 40 SpaceX employees were working on the design and construction of BFR. Over time, the project is expected to have 700 technical jobs. The facility is expected to be a 203,500-square-foot (18,910 m2) prefabricated building that would be 105 feet (32 m) tall.
Flight tests at the subsystem level of BFR is expected to begin with short suborbital hops of the full-scale ship, likely to be just a few hundred kilometers altitude and lateral distance. In March 2018, Musk stated that "construction of the first prototype spaceship is in progress" and that initial suborbital test flights were possible as early as 2019. Hops of the upper stage spaceship (BFS) might be conducted from the SpaceX South Texas Launch Site that is currently under construction near Brownsville, Texas, or from drone ship to drone ship.
The descriptor for the large SpaceX Mars rocket has varied over the past five years that SpaceX has publicly released information about the project. Beginning in mid-2013, and prior to September 2016, SpaceX had referred to both the architecture and the vehicle as the Mars Colonial Transporter. From September 2016 through August 2017, the overall system was referred to by SpaceX as the Interplanetary Transport System and the very large 12-meter-diameter (39 ft) launch vehicle itself as the ITS launch vehicle.
"BFR" is the current code name for SpaceX's privately funded launch vehicle announced by Elon Musk in September 2017. SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell has stated that BFR stands for "Big Falcon Rocket". However, Elon Musk has explained that although BFR is the official name, he drew inspiration from the BFG weapon in the Doom video games. The BFR has been referred to informally by the media and internally at SpaceX as "Big Fucking Rocket". The upper stage is the Spaceship, or BFS.
The BFR design combines several elements that, according to Musk, will make long-duration, beyond Earth orbit (BEO) spaceflights possible. They will reduce the per-ton cost of launches to low Earth orbit (LEO) and of transportation between BEO destinations. They will also serve all usage for the conventional LEO market. This will allow SpaceX to focus the majority of their development resources on the next-generation launch vehicle.
- "BFR booster": a reusable booster stage.
- a reusable, integrated second-stage-with-spaceship, which will be built in at least three versions:
- "BFR spaceship": a large, long-duration spaceship capable of carrying passengers or cargo to interplanetary destinations, to LEO, or between destinations on Earth.
- "BFR tanker": an Earth-orbit, cargo-only propellant tanker to support the refilling of propellants in orbit. The tanker will enable launching a large spacecraft to interplanetary space as the spacecraft can use its tanks twice, first to reach LEO and afterwards to leave Earth orbit. This design reaches a Delta-v similar to three-stage rockets without needing the corresponding large mass fractions.
- "BFR satellite delivery spacecraft": will have a large cargo bay door that can open in space to facilitate the placement of spacecraft into orbit.
Combining the second-stage of a launch vehicle with a long-duration spaceship will be a unique type of space mission architecture. This architecture is dependent on the successful refilling of propellants in orbit.
The BFR spaceship, the BFR tanker, and the BFR satellite delivery spacecraft will have the same outer mold line. The second-stage-spaceship will be capable of returning to the launch location. While returning, it will be able to tolerate multiple engine-out events and land successfully with just one operating engine.
The functioning of the system during BEO launches to Mars will include propellant production on the Mars surface. This is necessary for the return trip and to reuse the spaceship at a minimal cost. Lunar destinations will be possible without Lunar-propellant depots, so long as the spaceship is refueled in a high-elliptical orbit before the Lunar transit begins.
- Both stages are designed to be completely reusable.
- The booster is projected to return to land on the launch mount. The second-stage/spaceship will have the ability to return to near the launch mount. Both will use retropropulsive landing and the reusable launch vehicle technologies developed earlier by SpaceX.
- The landing reliability is projected by SpaceX to achieve "airline levels" of safety due to engine-out capability.
- Rendezvous and docking will be automated.
- There will be on-orbit propellant transfers from BFR tankers to BFR spaceships.
- A spaceship and its payload will be able to transit to the Moon or fly to Mars after on-orbit propellant loading.
- Heat-shields will be reusable.
- The BFR spaceship will have a pressurized volume of 825 m3 (29,100 cu ft), which could be configured for up to 40 cabins, large common areas, central storage, a galley, and a solar storm shelter for Mars missions.
|Complete||BFR booster||BFR spaceship/tanker/|
|LEO Payload||100,000 kg (220,000 lb)|
|Return Payload||50,000 kg (110,000 lb)|
|Cargo Volume||1,000 m3 (35,000 cu ft)||N/A||100 m3 (3,500 cu ft)|
|Diameter||9 m (30 ft)|
|Length||118 m (387 ft)||63 m (207 ft)||55 m (180 ft)|
|Maximum weight||4,400,000 kg (9,700,000 lb)||1,335,000 kg (2,943,000 lb)|
4 – 240,000 kg (530,000 lb)
2 – 860,000 kg (1,900,000 lb)
|Empty weight||85,000 kg (187,000 lb)|
|Engines||31 × SL Raptors||3 × SL + 4 × vacuum Raptors|
|Thrust||52.7 MN (11,800,000 lbf)||12.7 MN (2,900,000 lbf) total|
The Raptor engine design chamber pressure is 25 MPa (250 bar; 3,600 psi), although SpaceX plans to increase that to 30 MPa (300 bar; 4,400 psi) in later iterations of the engine. The engine will be designed with an extreme focus on reliability for any single engine; since "[the ship] can land with either of two engines, [the ship is being designed to achieve] landing reliability that is on par with the safest commercial airliners."
The BFR launch vehicle is designed to replace the existing SpaceX vehicles and spacecraft: Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, and the Dragon capsule. SpaceX estimates that BFR launches will be cheaper than the existing fleet, and even cheaper than the retired Falcon 1, due to full reusability and precision landing of the booster on its launch mount for simplified launch logistics. SpaceX intends to fully replace its vehicle fleet with BFRs during the early 2020s.:24:50–27:05
- legacy Earth-orbit satellite delivery market
- long-duration spaceflights in the cislunar region
- Mars transportation, both as cargo ships as well as passenger-carrying transport
- long-duration flights to the outer planets, for cargo and astronauts
- commercial passenger travel on Earth, competing with long-range aircraft
- Lunar flyby tour
In September 2018, SpaceX announced that it signed a contract to fly a group of private passengers around the Moon aboard the BFS. This lunar flyby will be crewed by Yusaku Maezawa, who will invite 6 to 8 artists to travel with him around the Moon in 2023. The expected travel time would be between 4 and 5 days.
- Mars propellant plant and base
Musk plans to build a crewed base on Mars for an expanded surface presence, which he hopes will grow into a self-sufficient colony. A successful colonization would ultimately involve many more economic actors—whether individuals, companies, or governments—to facilitate the growth of the human presence on Mars over many decades.
Since the BFR spaceships (second stage) are also reusable, Musk plans on refuelling them in low Earth orbit first, and then again on the surface of Mars for their return to Earth. During the first phase, he plans to launch several BFRs to transport and assemble a propellant plant and start to build up a base. The propellant plant would produce methane (CH
4) and liquid oxygen (O2) from sub-surface water ice and atmospheric CO
The first two cargo flights will be robotic and are planned to be launched in 2022 to deploy a massive array of solar panels, mining equipment, as well as deliver surface vehicles, food and life support infrastructure. In 2024 four more BFR landers will follow: two robotic cargo flights, and two crewed flights will be launched to setup the propellant production plant, solar arrays, landing pads, and greenhouses. Each landed mass will be at least 100 tons of usable payload, in addition to the spaceship's dry mass of 85 tons.
The first temporary habitats will be their own crewed BFR spaceships, as they have life-support systems. However, the robotic BFR cargo flights will be refueled for their return trip to Earth whenever possible. For a sustainable base, it is proposed that the landing zone be located at less than 40° latitude for best solar power production, relatively warm temperature, and critically: it must be near a massive sub-surface water ice deposit. The quantity and purity of the water ice must be appropriate. A preliminary study by SpaceX estimates the propellant plant is required to mine water ice and filter its impurities at a rate of 1 ton per day. The system under study is projected to produce 1 kg/day of O2/CH4 propellant while consuming 700 watts of electrical power. Overall unit conversion rate expected is one metric ton of propellant per 17 megawatt-hours energy input from solar power.
The biggest lingering questions about SpaceX's Mars colonization plans, have to do with health hazards of prolonged space travel, radiation, weightlessness, and habitation in the low gravity of Mars, which is one-third the gravity of Earth.
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Construction of the first prototype spaceship is in progress. 'We’re actually building that ship right now,' he said. 'I think we’ll probably be able to do short flights, short sort of up-and-down flights, probably sometime in the first half of next year.'
- SpaceX Aims to Begin BFR Spaceship Flight Tests as Soon as Next Year. Jay Bennett, Popular Mechanics. 7 February 2018.
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The new rocket is still known as the BFR, a euphemism for 'Big (fill-in-the-blank) Rocket.' The reusable BFR will use 31 Raptor engines burning densified, or super-cooled, liquid methane and liquid oxygen to lift 150 tons, or 300,000 pounds, to low Earth orbit, roughly equivalent to NASA’s Saturn 5 moon rocket.
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Musk stated it's possible that the first spaceship would be ready for tests in four years, with the booster ready a few years after that, but he shied away from exact schedules in his presentation. 'We're kind of being intentionally fuzzy about the timeline,' he said. 'We're going to try and make as much progress as we can with a very constrained budget.'
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SpaceX is in the midst of a variety of ambitious engine programmes, including the Merlin 2, a significant modification of the Merlin 1 series, and the Raptor upper stage engine. Details of both projects are tightly held.
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The fully reusable rocket that Musk wants to take colonists to Mars is an evolution of SpaceX's Falcon 9 booster.... 'It's going to be much bigger [than Falcon 9], but I don’t think we’re quite ready to state the payload. We’ll speak about that next year,' Musk said. ... 'Vertical landing is an extremely important breakthrough — extreme, rapid reusability.'
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The Mars transport system will be a completely new architecture. Am hoping to present that towards the end of this year. Good thing we didn't do it sooner, as we have learned a huge amount from Falcon and Dragon.
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We'll have the next generation rocket and spacecraft, beyond the Falcon and Dragon series... I'm hoping to describe that architecture later this year at the International Astronautical Congress. which is the big international space event every year. ... first flights to Mars? we're hoping to do that in around 2025 ... nine years from now or thereabouts.
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the updated version of the Mars architecture: Because it has evolved quite a bit since that last talk. ... The key thing that I figured out is how do you pay for it? If we downsize the Mars vehicle, make it capable of doing Earth-orbit activity as well as Mars activity, maybe we can pay for it by using it for Earth-orbit activity. That is one of the key elements in the new architecture. It is similar to what was shown at IAC, but a little bit smaller. Still big, but this one has a shot at being real on the economic front.
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Shotwell estimated that around 50 percent of the work on BFR is focused on the Raptor engines.
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SpaceX is actively considering expanding its San Pedro, California facility to begin manufacturing its interplanetary spacecraft. This would allow SpaceX to easily shift personnel from headquarters in Hawthorne.
- Masunaga, Samantha (8 May 2018). "All systems are go for SpaceX's BFR rocket facility at Port of Los Angeles after City Council OKs plan". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
- "Regular Meeting, Planning & Strategy, Resolution" (PDF). Port of Los Angeles. Retrieved 6 June 2018.
- Jeff Foust (15 October 2017). "Musk offers more technical details on BFR system". SpaceNews. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
[The] spaceship portion of the BFR, which would transport people on point-to-point suborbital flights or on missions to the moon or Mars, will be tested on Earth first in a series of short hops. ... a full-scale Ship doing short hops of a few hundred kilometers altitude and lateral distance ... fairly easy on the vehicle, as no heat shield is needed, we can have a large amount of reserve propellant and don’t need the high area ratio, deep space Raptor engines.
- Clark, Stephen (13 March 2018). "Musk: Atmospheric tests of interplanetary spaceship could happen next year". Spaceflight Now. Retrieved 7 June 2018.
- Tim Fernholz (29 September 2017). "SpaceX's Elon Musk unveiled a rocket that can fly to the Moon, Mars—and Shanghai". Quartz. Retrieved 30 September 2017.
- "Artist's Rendering Of The BFR". SpaceX. 12 April 2017. Retrieved 3 October 2017.
- Sherisse Pham; Jackie Wattles (29 September 2017). "Elon Musk is aiming to land spaceships on Mars in 2022". CNNMoney. Retrieved 29 September 2017.
- Mike Wall. "What's in a Name? SpaceX's 'BFR' Mars Rocket Acronym Explained". space.com. Retrieved 11 February 2018.
- Heath, Chris (12 December 2015). "Elon Musk Is Ready to Conquer Mars". GQ. Retrieved 14 February 2018.
- Fernholz, Tim (20 March 2018). Rocket Billionaires: Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and the New Space Race. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 244. ISBN 978-1328662231.
SpaceX would build a huge rocket: the BFR, or Big Falcon Rocket—or, more crudely among staff, the Big Fucking Rocket
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- What's in a Name? SpaceX's 'BFR' Mars Rocket Acronym Explained. Mike Wall, Space.com. October 7, 2017.
- Foust, Jeff. "SpaceX no longer planning crewed missions on Falcon Heavy". Spacenews. Retrieved 6 February 2018.
- Space tourists will have to wait as SpaceX plans bigger rocket. Stu Clark, The Guardian. 8 February 2018.
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- Elon Musk (27 September 2016). Making Humans a Multiplanetary Species (video). Guadalajara, Mexico: SpaceX. Event occurs at 9:20–10:10. Retrieved 10 October 2016.
So it is a bit tricky. Because we have to figure out how to improve the cost of the trips to Mars by five million percent ... [which] translates to an improvement of approximately 4 1/2 orders of magnitude. These are the key elements that are needed ... to achieve ...[this] improvement. Most of the improvement would come from full reusability—somewhere between 2 and 2 1/2 orders of magnitude—and then the other 2 orders of magnitude would come from refilling in orbit, propellant production on Mars, and choosing the right propellant.
- Jeff Foust (15 October 2017). "Musk offers more technical details on BFR system". SpaceNews. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
[Musk wrote,] "The flight engine design is much lighter and tighter, and is extremely focused on reliability."
- Jeff Foust (15 October 2017). "Musk offers more technical details on BFR system". SpaceNews. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
[Musk] added that, since the presentation last month, SpaceX has revised the design of the BFR spaceship to add a "medium area ratio" Raptor engine to its original complement of two engines with sea-level nozzles and four with vacuum nozzles. That additional engine helps enable that engine-out capability ... and will "allow landings with higher payload mass for the Earth to Earth transport function."
- Chris Gebhardt (29 September 2017). "The Moon, Mars, & around the Earth – Musk updates BFR architecture, plans". NASASpaceflight.com. Retrieved 2 October 2017.
In a move that would have seemed crazy a few years ago, Mr. Musk stated that the goal of BFR is to make the Falcon 9 and the Falcon Heavy rockets and their crew/uncrewed Dragon spacecrafts redundant, thereby allowing the company to shift all resources and funding allocations from those vehicles to BFR. Making the Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy, and Dragon redundant would also allow BFR to perform the same Low Earth Orbit (LEO) and Beyond LEO satellite deployment missions as Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy – just on a more economical scale as multiple satellites would be able to launch at the same time and on the same rocket thanks to BFR’s immense size.
- Elon Musk [@elonmusk] (12 May 2018). "SpaceX will prob build 30 to 40 rocket cores for ~300 missions over 5 years. Then BFR takes over & Falcon retires. Goal of BFR is to enable anyone to move to moon, Mars & eventually outer planets" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
- Elon Musk (28 September 2017). BFR Earth to Earth (video). SpaceX. Event occurs at 1:45. Retrieved 23 December 2017 – via YouTube.
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- First Private Passenger on Lunar BFR Mission. Press conference streamed live at YouTube by SpaceX. 17 September 2018.
- Dear Moon. Accessed: 17 September 2018.
- SpaceX wants to use the first Mars-bound BFR spaceships as Martian habitats. Eric Ralph, TeslaRati. 27 August 2018.
- We’re going to Mars by 2024 if Elon Musk has anything to say about it. Elizabeth Rayne, SyFy Wire. 15 August 2018.
- Everything SpaceX revealed about its updated plan to reach Mars by 2022. Darrell Etherington, TechCrunch. 29 September 2017, accessed 14 September 2018.
- >Paul Wooster - SpaceX's Plans for Mars - 21st Annual International Mars Society Convention. Mars Society. 29 August 2018. Retrieved 2 September 2018.
- Engineering Mars commercial rocket propellant production for the Big Falcon Rocket (part 1). Steve Hoeser, The Space Review. 23 April 2018.
- The biggest lingering questions about SpaceX's Mars colonization plans. Loren Grush, The Verge. 28 September 2016.
- SpaceX is quietly planning Mars-landing missions with the help of NASA and other spaceflight experts. It's about time. Dave Mosher, Business Insider. 11 August 2018. Quote: "Keeping the human body healthy in space is another challenge that Porterfield said SpaceX needs to figure out."
- What SpaceX Needs to Accomplish Before Colonizing Mars. Neel V. Patel, The Inverse. 30 June 2016. Quote: "Space radiation is perhaps the biggest issue at play, and it's not quite clear if Musk has a good understanding of how it works and the extent to which it's stopping us from sending astronauts to far off worlds. […] For Musk and his colleagues to move forward and simply disregard the problem posed by cosmic rays would be insanely irresponsible."
- "Becoming A Multiplanet Species" (PDF). SpaceX. 15 October 2017. 39-page slide deck of graphics, charts and images.