Big Falcon Rocket

SpaceX Big Falcon Rocket v2018
Big Falcon Rocket (shortened to BFR) is a fully reusable two-stage super heavy-lift launch vehicle and spacecraft currently developed by leading NewSpace company SpaceX. BFR will be capable to lift over 100 metric tons to low Earth orbit (LEO) when fully reused. It will eventually replace all of SpaceX's launch vehicles (Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy) and spacecrafts (Dragon and Dragon 2) currently in use.

The main purpose of building such a large rocket is to enable the colonization of Mars but BFR will be capable to do a lot of different tasks – to place satellites or space stations in orbit, ferry passengers to space stations or the Moon and even ferry passengers or cargo between any destinations on Earth within an hour.

Big Falcon Rocket consists of two stages – the booster ("Big Falcon Booster") and the spacecraft ("Big Falcon Ship/Spaceship"). Both stages will use methalox rocket engine called "Raptor". SpaceX chose methalox fuel for its next generation rocket engine not only because it can be easily produced on Mars but also because it burns cleaner (allowing cheaper reusability) and don't require super-low temperature for storage as hydrogen does. Another novelty – the body and propellant tanks of BFR will be built out of carbon fiber considerably reducing the dry weight of the rocket and increasing the payload capacity.

Originally "BFR" stands for "Big Fu**ing Rocket" (inspired by the "Big Fu**ing Gun" in DOOM computer game) but to be more polite the official full name of the rocket system is "Big Falcon Rocket".

SpaceX Big Falcon Ship v2018

Big Falcon Ship

Big Falcon Ship or Spaceship (shortened to BFS) is the 2nd stage of BFR and will be made in three versions – crewed, cargo and tanker. BFS will be 9 meters in diameter and use 7 Raptor engines. It will have a pressurized volume of over 1000 m3 – more than the International Space Station.

Big Falcon Ship, having three landing pads, heat shield and actuated fins both on aft and forward, is designed to be able retropropulsively land anywhere in the Solar system, including Earth, the Moon and Mars. It's also the first spacecraft designed to be able to support and land large quantity of cargo and passengers on other planetary bodies. To do so it will require on-orbit refueling by one or more BFS tankers depending on the destination and cargo.

SpaceX is hoping to be able to start sub-orbital hop tests of Big Falcon Ship in late 2019 at its Boca Chica launch facility currently being built in South Texas, perform first flight around the Moon in 2023 and land first humans on Mars in 2025 (although Musk has recently expressed doubts there will be humans on that flight). We are predicting the later two milestones will happen several years later – in 2027 and 2031 respectively because developing a human-rated spacecraft is a lot harder task than building "just" a cargo rocket, as the example of Dragon 2 teaches us.

SpaceX Big Falcon Rocket launch

Big Falcon Booster

Big Falcon Booster (shortened to BFB) is the 1st stage of BFR, will be 9 meters in diameter and use 31 Raptor engines. It will have more thrust than any rocket in human history – more than all the stages of Saturn V combined. It will be used only to boost the spaceship (BFS) from the surface of Earth because of its deep gravity well; from other possible destinations, as Mars or the Moon, BFS will be capable to lift off by itself.

After boosting the BFS (in its crewed, cargo or tanker version) BFB will be capable to retropropulsively land back on its launch mount.

Iterations of Big Falcon Rocket:

Official and fan-made art of Big Falcon Rocket:

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