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     SpaceX plan in earnest for Interplanetary Transport System

    Space Launch
    Elon Musk, the CEO and founder of SpaceX, the successful USA-based space launch company, announced recently, at the International Astronautical Congress, in Adelaide, Australia, that SpaceX now plans to transition to a reusable, two-stage, multipurpose super-heavy-lift launcher that not only can take on the satellite delivery and station resupply flights that keep SpaceX financially viable, but also fly crews and cargo to the Moon and Mars. The system also could be used for suborbital, point-to-point travel between destinations on Earth.

    “Essentially, we want to make our current vehicles redundant,” Musk said during a 45-min. presentation on the final day of this year’s IAC, which was held in Adelaide, Australia, Sept. 25-29. “This was really quite a profound realization that if we can build a system that cannibalizes our own products . . . then all the resources—which are quite enormous—used for Falcon 9, Heavy and Dragon can be applied to one system.”

    Since its June 2010 debut, Falcon 9 rockets have flown 41 times, with two more satellite-delivery missions slated for Oct. 7 and Oct. 9. Falcon Heavy, which extends the fleet’s lift capacity to low Earth orbit (LEO) from 50,265 lb. (22,800 kg) to 140,650 lb., is due to fly for the first time before the end of the year. BFR, in contrast, has a lift capacity to LEO of 330,000 lb., admittedly overkill for the communications satellites and other payloads needing rides into orbit today. “I know at first glance this may seem ridiculous,” says Musk. “But it is not. The same is true of aircraft. If you bought, say, a small, single-engine turboprop aircraft, that would be $1.5-2 million. To charter a [Boeing] 747 from California to Australia is half a million dollars, there and back. The single-engine turboprop cannot even get to Australia. So a fully reusable, giant aircraft like the 747 costs a third as much as an expendable tiny aircraft. In one case, you have to build an entire aircraft, in the other case you just have to refuel something. “It is really crazy that we build these sophisticated rockets and then crash them every time we fly,” he adds. “Often I’ll be told, ‘but you could get more payload if you made it expendable.’ I said yes, you could also get more payload from an aircraft if you got rid of the landing gear and the flaps and just parachute out when you got to your destination. But that would be crazy, and you would sell zero aircraft. So reusability is absolutely fundamental.” Luxembourg-based SES, the first commercial satellite operator to fly on a Falcon 9, and the first customer for a previously flown booster, said it would assess BFR for future launch services, as it would any rocket. “SES’s position is to constantly review the various launch systems available to it," says Martin Halliwell, SES chief technology officer. “The SpaceX Falcon 9 has proven itself in both expendable and flight-proven modes. The BFR is a completely new system with completely different levels of capability, so we will have to assess the fit once again for our requirements. I am sure that SpaceX will fully engage with SES when the time is right.”

    See Aviation Week Network article here:

    Note: Source: Aviation Week Network

    Associated Topics

    Space Industry

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