Elon Musk’s New Plan: Travel from New Delhi to Tokyo in 30 Minutes

Elon Musk’s New Plan: Travel from New Delhi to Tokyo in 30 Minutes

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Elon Musk unveiled ambitious plans Friday to send cargo ships to Mars
  • He showed to use rockets to carry people between Earth’s major cities
  • A trip from Tokyo to Delhi would take just 30 minutes

Elon Musk on Friday unveiled his ambitious plan to send cargo ships to Mars in five years, as part of SpaceX’s efforts to make sure its rockets are financially feasible. The futurist said the company’s planned interplanetary transport system, codenamed BFR (Big Fucking Rocket), would be shrunk in size so that it can carry out a host of tasks that would help pay for future Mars mission. But Elon Musk isn’t stopping there, as he also plans to use rockets to transport people between major cities on Earth in less than half an hour.

“The most important thing… is that I think we have figured out how to pay for (BFR),” Musk told a packed auditorium at a global gathering of space experts in Adelaide. “Which is to have a smaller vehicle, it’s still pretty big, but one that can… do everything that’s needed in the greater Earth orbit activity.”

 

Elon Musk Mars mission

Elon Musk said SpaceX had starting building the system, with the construction of the first ship to start in six to nine months. “I feel fairly confident that we can complete the ship and launch in about five years,” he added.

At least two cargo ships would land on the Red Planet in 2022, with the key mission of finding the best source of water — currently mooted as a way to power rockets, he said. The rockets would place power, mining and life-support infrastructure on Mars to support future missions, with four ships set to take people, equipment and supplies to the planet in 2024. The trips would be funded by a range of activities, including launching satellites, servicing the space station and lunar missions, he said.

Elon Musk’s plan to reduce travel time between major cities

Elon Musk added that the rockets should also cater to Earth inhabitants by reducing the travel between major cities to less than half-an-hour. A trip from Bangkok to Dubai would take 27 minutes, and from Tokyo to Delhi in 30 minutes, according to his calculations.

“Once you are out of the atmosphere, it would be as smooth as silk, no turbulence, nothing,” he said. “There’s no weather… and you can get to most long-distance places in less than half-an-hour. If we are building this thing to go to the Moon and Mars, then why not go to other places on Earth as well.”

The week-long annual International Astronautical Congress, which concluded Friday, has seen government space agencies and private firms outline their plans to send humans to the Moon and Mars in the next few decades.

This included an agreement between Russian space agency Roscosmos and NASA to work on the first lunar space station as part of a programme called the Deep Space Gateway.

[“Source-gadgets.ndtv”]

SpaceX’s sixth successful launch in 2017 puts Elon Musk’s company on pace to beat its rivals

Falcon 9 Inmarsat Elon Musk SpaceX Launch

 

Flying the biggest satellite that SpaceX has ever launched, weighing in at more than 6 metric tons, proved a routine piece of business for the company’s Falcon 9 rocket yesterday.

The Inmarsat-owned satellite, built by Boeing, was originally scheduled to fly on a larger rocket, the Falcon Heavy, that SpaceX hopes to debut later this year. Flying the big bird on a smaller rocket required some sacrifices on SpaceX’s part—the first stage booster could not be recovered for potential re-use, for example, since much of the fuel necessary would be used in flight. But the success puts the company on a path to finally hit its long-dreamed-of high-speed launch cadence.

SpaceX has been hoping to out-fly its competitors for the last several years, planning on a dozen to even 18 launches in a single calendar year. But in 2015, a mid-flight explosion grounded SpaceX’s rocket for six months, putting a kibosh on those plans, and a 2016 refueling mishap required four months of work to ensure the rocket was ready for flight.

Now, having launched six rockets before the halfway point of 2017, the company looks set to hit its goals and finally fly more rockets than its incumbent competitors, the Boeing-Lockheed Martin joint venture United Launch Alliance, and the European champion Arianespace. That’s striking, given that SpaceX’s first commercial mission was in 2012. (ULA was formed in 2006, and Arianespace in 1980.)

This year, Arianespace has been the victim of circumstance, with its major spaceport becoming a pawn in a political battle between impoverished French Guianans and the mainland French government. The protests have now been resolved, allowing the company to start launching again.

For the rest of this year, SpaceX has plenty to do. It will launch a Bulgarian television satellite, and communications birds for Intelsat, Iridium, SES, and Echostar. It is expected to launch satellites on behalf of Taiwan and South Korea. And the company plans to launch its own demonstration satellite to provide internet access. Perhaps most importantly, it will fly three missions to the International Space Station for NASA, as well as demonstrating an uncrewed flight of its new astronaut-carrying space capsule. Plus, it expects to fly the experimental Falcon Heavy.

That’s a lot of work—at least a dozen more missions—and it will require the company’s engineers and technicians to move fast and carefully, with no major mishaps. The company’s goal has long been a mission cadence of one flight every two weeks, a pace it hit this month and in March but has yet to sustain over time. The tiny signals of progress are there—during yesterday’s launch, the company began loading liquid oxygen into the rocket ten minutes later than usual, part of an effort to compress and shorten the countdown process.

The rewards of frequent launches are clear: Besides establishing the Falcon 9’s reliability, and the constant stream of data used by engineers after every launch to refine the vehicle, each launch represents revenue won by SpaceX.

While the company brushed off financial concerns after its 2016 mishap, with officials noting that it had no debt and $1 billion in cash on its books, replenishing its coffers will give SpaceX greater security and more resources to tackle big projects ahead—including its mooted satellite internet constellation and an inter-planetary transportation system for reaching Mars.

[“Source-qz”]