For the uninitiated, SpaceX is developing the Space Launch vehicle that will transport humanity to Mars called the Big Falcon Rocket or BFR.
There are two main parts of the vehicle, the Booster, and the Spaceship, SpaceX wants to develop and test launch the BFR Spaceship by early 2019.
SpaceX is NOT messing around, they have locked in and full steam ahead with the development of the BFR.
It’s easy to say I’ll believe it when I see it, but the company has been actually showing us that they are all in on this epic endeavor.
My last video about the BFR on April 1st touched on the 18,000 Sq meter facility that will be built on the port of LA. The facility will be where the BFR will be constructed.
It also touched on SpaceX efforts to secure government funding for development of the BFR and touched on the launch site of the BFR near Brownsville, TX that is slated to be operational by the end of the year.
And today, we have two awesome developments that further illustrate that SpaceX is determined to get us to Mars.
But before we cover those developments, let’s recap the parts of the vehicle that are already finished or closed to finish.
You see, SpaceX has had to prepare for the BFR for years.
They started developing the Raptor engine back to around 2011.
The Raptor engine will be powered by liquid oxygen and methane and is the project to have the highest thrust to weight ratio in the world and will be extremely efficient.
At 1700 kN of thrust, the Raptor engine will be more than twice as powerful as the Merlin 1D engine that powers the Falcon 9.
To finalize the development, SpaceX received $40 million from the US Air Force to assist with its completion, in October 2017 adding to the $33 million the Air Force awarded in 2016, along with the $67 million funded by SpaceX, there has been over $140 of funding for the development of the Raptor engine.
According to reports in October, the development of the Raptor engine should be complete this month in April.
So hopefully we hear an update soon.
Another major component of the BFR that SpaceX has been developing ahead of time is the fuel tank, which is pretty much finished.
And believe or not, Musk says that the tank is the hardest part of the spaceship to develop because SpaceX has a good handle on the other components.
The tank is the spaceship’s core structure that must withstand incredible pressures and extremely cold temperatures from the liquid oxygen propellant and if not engineered or constructed properly it might leak or explode.
It’s made out of carbon fiber which as an incredible strength to weight ratio but the material is not easy to work with.
In November of 2016, they successfully completed a critical test of the enormous development tank that measures 12 meters wide.
That tank was constructed for the Interplanetary Spaceship design which had an insane width of 17 meters so SpaceX will have to scale down the design for the BFR.
So, with the Raptor engine and fuel tank largely complete, everything else is more straightforward comparatively.
Alright, let’s move on to the recent developments.
First is this incredible picture posted by Elon Musk on Instagram on April 8th.
You’re looking at the main body tool for the BFR interplanetary spaceship, see how massive it is next to the Model 3.
It’s called a spinning Mandrel tool, here’s a video of Boeing using a similar tool for the fuselage of a 787.
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