SpaceX has reportedly signed its first customer to fly on the company’s huge new rocket, the BFR. The passenger will fly on the monster ship around the Moon, though there are no details yet regarding when the trip will happen. SpaceX says it will announce who is flying — and why — on Monday, September 17th.
The BFR, or the Big Falcon Rocket, is the giant rocket that SpaceX is currently developing to send humans to the Moon and Mars. According to a presentation by CEO Elon Musk last year, the BFR design consists of a combined rocket and spaceship, or the BFS for Big Falcon Ship. The main rocket will supposedly have 31 main Raptor engines and be capable of sending up 150 tons to low Earth orbit.
SpaceX has signed the world’s first private passenger to fly around the Moon aboard our BFR launch vehicle—an important step toward enabling access for everyday people who dream of traveling to space. Find out who’s flying and why on Monday, September 17. pic.twitter.com/64z4rygYhk
— SpaceX (@SpaceX) September 14, 2018
In February 2017, SpaceX announced plans to send two passengers around the Moon on the company’s Falcon Heavy rocket, claiming that the flight would happen at the end of 2018. SpaceX never named the passengers, and ultimately Musk admitted during the inaugural flight of the Falcon Heavy that the trip was probably not going to happen. “We’re sort of debating whether to do that on Falcon Heavy or BFR,” Musk told The Verge before the launch in February of this year. “It will sort of depend how well BFR development is going as to whether we focus on BFR for deep-space human flight or whether we do that on Falcon Heavy.”
It’s unclear if this new passenger being announced is one of the two original passengers from the Falcon Heavy flight, or a new customer altogether. Musk hinted on Twitter that the customer might be from Japan. SpaceX will presumably give more details on Monday. The company has set up a livestream for the announcement.
Musk gave a detailed presentation about the design for the BFR last September, during the annual International Astronautical Congress. The presentation called for a slimmed down version of the vehicle that he had originally pitched the year before, which would have had 42 main engines instead of 31. However, on Twitter this evening, Musk confirmed that the rendering of the BFR posted by SpaceX for the announcement was a new version of the vehicle.
More Info: www.theverge.com