SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled plans to use their new interplanetary rocket system for long-distance travel on Earth. Musk demonstrated the idea speaking at the International Astronautical Congress, claiming that it will allow passengers to take “most long-distance trips” in just 30 minutes, and go “anywhere on Earth in under an hour” for approximately the same price as an economy airline ticket.
Musk proposed using SpaceX’s forthcoming mega-rocket, codenamed Big F**king Rocket (BFR for short) to lift a spaceship into orbit around the Earth. The ship would then settle down on floating landing pads near major cities. Both the new rocket and spaceship are currently theoretical, though Musk did say that he hopes to begin construction on the rocket in the next 6 to 9 months.
“All our resources will turn toward building BFR,” Musk said. “And we believe we can do this with the revenue we receive from launching satellites and servicing the space station.”
“We can build a system that cannibalizes our own products, makes our own products redundant, then all the resources we use for Falcon Heavy and Dragon can be applied to one system,” he said at the conference. Musk says the cost of launching cargo on the ITS (Interplanetary Transport System) will be fairly cheap too, since the rocket and spaceship will be an entirely reusable system (unlike the Falcon 9, which is only 70–80 percent reusable).
Musk said that SpaceX will eventually start stockpiling vehicles in their current fleet ( Consisting of Falcon 9s, Falcon Heavy, and the Dragon spacecrafts) and then focus all of its resources into developing the company’s next monster vehicle: the Interplanetary Transport System, codenamed the BFR (Big F**king Rocket).
The ITS plans on using floating pads in water, much like the ones Falcon 9 uses, to land the rocket at it’s destination.
Musk proposed several routes in a video including Hong Kong to Singapore in 22 minutes, New York to Shanghai in 39 minutes, London to Dubai or New York in 29 minutes, and Los Angeles to Toronto in 24 minutes.
This method of Earth-city-to-Earth-city travel would be the fastest ever created by humanity. The ship would reach a speed of about 18,000 miles per hour at its top speed according to Musk. The BFR is estimated to be capable of carrying between 80 to 200 people per trip.