SpaceX is perhaps best known for its Falcon 9 rocket, which frequently powers International Space Station resupply missions and ferries communication satellites into space. But it’s not the only space vehicle the commercial space company is known for; SpaceX is also responsible for the Falcon Heavy rocket and the upcoming BFR (short for Big Falcon Rocket).
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk first conceptualized the BFR a couple of years ago, describing it as an all-in-one launcher and spacecraft system that would support a variety of missions. It would be capable of sending several passengers on deep-space missions, helping NASA and other space agencies around the globe to achieve their goals in the space science sector.
SpaceX hasn’t built and launched its conceptual BFR platform yet, but according to some recent Tweets shared by Musk, the commercial space company is planning to launch a miniaturized scale model of the BFR that utilizes a modified Falcon 9 rocket as its primary launch platform in the near future.
How soon could this happen? In another Tweet, Musk divulges SpaceX’s plans to attempt a launch of the miniature BFR prototype by June 2019, just three years before the projected maiden voyage of the company’s official full-sized BFR platform.
Many of SpaceX’s modern rockets take advantage of propulsive landing to land upright on a landing pad after serving their primary mission, but as Musk’s follow-up Tweets in response to various inquisitive minds on the social platform reveal, the miniature BFR wouldn’t attempt a propulsive landing after launch.
SpaceX wouldn’t be building BFR’s experimental little brother for fun and games, but rather to help the company test their upcoming space travel platform for a fraction of the cost. Furthermore, it’d benefit SpaceX engineers by providing them with experience surrounding the construction of a revolutionary new type of space vehicle.
It should be interesting to see whether SpaceX meets the stringent deadline given and if the platform works as expected. Only time will tell…