Private Lunar Mission

On September 17, 2018, SpaceX announced fashion innovator and globally recognized art curator Yusaku Maezawa will be the company’s first private passenger flight around the Moon for 2023. To date, only 24 people have visited the Moon, with the last of them flying in 1972. This first private lunar passenger flight, featuring a fly-by of the Moon as part of a weeklong mission, will help fund development of the BFR vehicle, an important step in enabling access for everyday people who dream of flying to space.

The trajectory of BFR around the earth and moon

BFR

BFR is a fully reusable vehicle designed to service all Earth orbit needs as well as the Moon and Mars. This two-stage vehicle—composed of a Booster and a Ship—will eventually replace Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon. By creating a single system that can service a variety of markets, SpaceX can redirect resources from Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon to the BFR system—which is fundamental in making BFR affordable.

BFR Uses

An important question we have to answer is, “How do we pay for this system?” The answer lies in creating a single system that can support a variety of missions. SpaceX can then redirect resources from Falcon 9, Falcon Heavy and Dragon to this system.

Satellites

BFR is designed to deliver satellites to Earth orbit and beyond, at a lower marginal cost per launch than our current Falcon vehicles. With a 9 m diameter forward payload compartment, larger than any other current or planned fairing, BFR creates possibilities for new missions, including space telescopes even larger than the James Webb.

Space Station Missions

BFR can deliver both cargo and people to and from the International Space Station. BFR’s pressurized forward payload volume is greater than 1,000 m3, enhancing utilization capacity for in-space activities. The aft cargo containers can also host a variety of payloads.

Interplanetary Transport

Building Moon bases and Mars cities will require affordable delivery of significant quantities of cargo and people. The fully reusable BFR uses in-space propellant transfer to enable the delivery of over 100 t of useful mass to the surface of the Moon or Mars. BFR is designed to ultimately carry as many as 100 people on long-duration, interplanetary flights

Missions to Mars

Our aspirational goal is to send our first cargo mission to Mars in 2022. The objectives for the first mission will be to confirm water resources, identify hazards, and put in place initial power, mining, and life support infrastructure. A second mission, with both cargo and crew, is targeted for 2024, with primary objectives of building a propellant depot and preparing for future crew flights. The ships from these initial missions will also serve as the beginnings of the first Mars base, from which we can build a thriving city and eventually a self-sustaining civilization on Mars.

Mars Entry

BFR will enter the Mars atmosphere at 7.5 kilometers per second and decelerate aerodynamically. The vehicle’s heat shield is designed to withstand multiple entries, but given that the vehicle is coming into the Mars atmosphere so hot, we still expect to see some ablation of the heat shield (similar to wear and tear on a brake pad). The engineering videos below simulate the physics of Mars entry for BFR.

Earth to Earth Transportation

With BFR, most of what people consider to be long distance trips would be completed in less than half an hour. In addition to vastly increased speed, one great benefit about traveling in space, outside of Earth’s atmosphere, is the lack friction as well as turbulence and weather. Consider how much time we currently spend traveling from one place to another. Now imagine most journeys taking less than 30 minutes, with access to anywhere in the world in an hour or less.

Time Comparisons to Major Cities

Route Distance Commercial Airline Time via BFR
Los Angeles to New York 3,983km 5 hours, 25 min 25 min
Bangkok to Dubai 4,909km 6 hours, 25 min 27 min
Tokyo to Singapore 5,350km 7 hours, 10 min 28 min
London to New York 5,555km 7 hours, 55 min 29 min
New York to Paris 5,849km 7 hours, 20 min 30 min
Sydney to Singapore 6,288km 8 hours, 20 min 31 min
Los Angeles to London 8,781km 10 hours, 30 min 32 min
London to Hong Kong 9,648km 11 hours, 50 min 34 min