Elon Musk says a 'radical change' is coming to SpaceX's monster Mars rocket design

Elon MuskAP
  • In a tweet, Musk revealed that "radical change" was coming to the design of the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), which is meant to go to Mars.
  • The tweet appeared to indicate that the second stage of the Falcon 9 will now be used for component tests for the BFR, and that the company is abandoning plans to make the second stage of Falcon 9 reusable. 
  • Musk has said that his "aspirational" goal is to launch an unmanned cargo mission to Mars by 2022.

In a tweet, Saturday, SpaceX founder Elon Musk announced that "radical change" was coming to the design of the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), that is being made in an attempt to go to Mars.

Musk left out any specifics of his plan, simply announcing that "SpaceX is no longer planning to upgrade Falcon 9 second stage for reusability" and would be "Accelerating BFR instead." Musk called the new design "very exciting" and "delightfully counter-intuitive." 

Earlier in November, Musk announced that "Falcon 9 second stage will be upgraded to be like a mini-BFR Ship," to test components for the BFR. His latest tweet indicates that the company is fully leaning into this plan, and is abandoning previously reported plans to upgrade the Falcon 9 second stage so that it could be re-used. 

In September, Musk announced that Yusaku Maezawa, a Japanese billionaire and art collector would be the first passenger of the BFR. Along with eight artists, Maezaqa intends to complete a week-long mission called "#dearMoon."

The mission would kick off the larger plan for BFR, which is to eventually make it to Mars and assist in its colonization. Musk says he wants to launch an unmanned mission to Mars by 2022, and a manned mission by 2024.

Previously, designs for the BFR included a 180-feet tall spaceship atop of a 230-foot-tall rocket booster that promised to lift up to 150 tons of cargo and ferry as many as 100 passengers to Mars. It's unclear how much of this is set to change under Musk's reported redesign.

The news is consistent with previous reports that many SpaceX resources would be re-allocated towards the BFR by the end of 2019.

 

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