SpaceX Manned Moon Flight, Not Happening
With all pomp and circumstance last year in February Elon Musk’s SpaceX announced that, in late 2018, it would fly two paying space tourists around the Moon and back to Earth. However, those plans have changed. As reported Monday by the Wall Street Journal, the flight is now postponed until at least mid-2019—SpaceX won’t say yet when it will take place, though it insists it will happen.
This is actually confirmation of something we already more-or-less knew. The original plan was for SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy rocket to power the mission, due to Falcon Rocket unlikely to meet human rating certification in near term or ever, SpaceX is forced to look to either Falcon 9, or BFR. Musk said a few months ago that the company would probably use its “Big Falcon Rocket” (BFR) instead.
The BFR is still under development with first test flight scheduled for mid to late 2019, so that would explain the delay. Musk said in March that it may debut in March 2019, however delays and manufacturing facilities just being readied, I can’t see BFR being ready before mid to late 2019. It was hopped SpaceX might unveil first BFR at the International Aeronautical Congress to be held in Bremen Germany this year.
BFR once completed will be the most powerful rocket ever built capable of lifting 150 to 175 tons in to LEO, this BFR version that is under development will be used by SpaceX to send manned mission to Mars if all goes according to schedule sometimes in 2024. The Spaceship component, BFS could also be used to transport people and cargo in Earth to Earth jumps. The larger version of BFR and BFS will also be developed, or at least Elon Musk has hinted of this, the larger BFR will most likely be capable of lifting 250 tons of cargo in to LEO. However, there’s no concrete information on the larger BFR version, yet.
SpaceX is facing uncertain demand for Falcon Heavy, could be due to uncertainty over safety concerns and that the company itself is projecting a significant drop in launches next year due to fewer contracts for large satellite launches, however smaller satellites can be happily sent into orbit using SpaceX’s smaller, more proven Falcon 9 rocket.
SpaceX’s latest satellite launch—its 11th mission this year, again using a Falcon 9—took place at Cape Canaveral early Monday. Falcon 9 has proven to be very cost effective rocket, and in its latest version the block 5, Falcon 9 has become cheapest and most reliable space delivery vehicle in the world. A record Musk must be really proud off.
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