Falcon Heavy's successful launch opened a new chapter for SpaceX. Now that the bar has already been raised, it is concentrating in the development of an even bigger and more powerful spaceship.
Known as the Big Falcon Rocket, the new vehicle outgrows its predecessor's two-stage system. It completely minimizes the stage separation process by being the first single-stage rocket within the heavy-lift market.
In 2020-2021, Elon is projecting a first orbital flight for the Big Falcon Rocket.
Specifically, the BFR is designed to conduct planetary entries on Mars and other planets that are yet to be fully explored, and to accomplish this purpose, it would need to survive heat shields and other harsh atmospheric conditions. If used as a mode of transportation here on earth it technically could shuttle passengers anywhere in the world within about 30 min, as shown in the video above.
The SpaceX Big Falcon Rocket is undergoing detailed engineering design now. It is being designed with the same computer model designs and software that were used for the successful Falcon Heavy.
The successful first test of the SpaceX Falcon Heavy gives Elon Musk confidence in the computer design models.
In 2019, we should be seeing short hop testing of the Big Falcon Rocket and Big Falcon Ship.
Being a spaceship with a crew on board, flights are anticipated to be more challenging, but Elon Musk, the company's chief executive, announced in a press conference that it could be ready for experimental takeoffs as early as 2019.
"There are a lot of uncertainties around this program, but it is going to be our focus," he said just after the Falcon Heavy was launched last Feb. 8.
SpaceX's team currently has their hands full with building the new crew capsule Dragon 2, as well as the Falcon 9 upgrade. Upon the completion of both projects, there would be nothing left to work on except for the BFR.
After its modification, the design and development of the Falcon 9 together with Falcon Heavy would finally reach completion.
Musk claimed that his team has already gained a better understanding of reusable booster technology, allowing them to not just upgrade existing rockets but also to streamline the BFR for space exploration.
With an improved booster, the reusable spaceship's first test is taking off from the Earth and successfully re-entering its surface. After this, the BFR will then conduct the same test on the moon.
These full-scale tests are coming much later, according to Musk. They are estimated to be conducted in the following three to four years. For the meantime, SpaceX continues to render services through the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy.
In 2012 and 2013, there were many tests of the SpaceX grasshopper spaceship.
Elon Musk said that a fully fueled Big Falcon Rocket could fly to orbit in a single stage.
As part of Musk's vision to bring the human race to Mars, a report reveals that the BFR has specifications that would put it above all rockets ever created.
Its spaceship component and launch system are designed to sit atop an enormous booster propelled by 31 Raptor engines. In comparison, the Falcon Heavy is only powered by 27 Merlin engines.
SpaceX's BFR is rising at a height of 348 feet with a capability of launching 150 tons of payload into low-Earth orbit.