Your weekly dose of Elon Musk’s Twitter shenanigans is here. Earlier today, Musk sent the tech community buzzing by announcing on Twitter that SpaceX is officially changing the name of their biggest rocket from BFR – Big Falcon Rocket or like his beloved fans like to call it, the Big F**king Rocket to a more family-friendly and yet equally exciting name.
And it’s now called ‘The Starship’.
Well, the technical name would be Starship Super Heavy since only the top of the spaceship is called ‘Starship’ and the bottom part consisting of the rocket boosters required to propel it outside the Earth’s gravitational field is called Super Heavy because…… you guessed it, it is really big and it is really heavy.
This comes right on the heels of yet another announcement Musk made yesterday when he declared that SpaceX is no longer planning to upgrade the Falcon 9 and improve its reusability but instead would be accelerating the BFR project making it their flagship spaceship and that “radical changes” were being made to the BFR and it was getting a design overhaul as well. The Starship is expected to cost a whopping 5 billion USD to manufacture and is expected to hit the skies sometime 2023. Safe to say, this would occupy the second position on the “Unbelievable things only Elon Musk could pull off” list as the launch of the Tesla Roadster in 2020 is obviously what we want to see happen before anything else.
And the third thing on the list would probably be the Hyperloop project.
SpaceX signed Japanese billionaire entrepreneur Yusaku Maezawa to be the first private citizen to take a flight around the Moon in the Starship. Mr. Maezawa and an assortment of artists are slated to take a 240,000-mile journey as early as 2023.
However, they wouldn’t be landing on the moon but would travel on what is called a “free return trajectory”, which would bring Starship back to Earth after it has gone around the far side of the Moon. Basically making it a glorified tour bus. But in space.
One of his followers pointed out on Twitter that it could be legitimately called a Starship only if it actually went to other star systems, owing to its original name – The Starship Enterprise from the pop-sci fi cult series Star Trek which was used the crew to visit various planetary systems.
Musk was quick to respond by saying that the later version will (wouldn’t be surprised if it were to be named The Millenium Falcon ). Which could make the long-held fantasies of most of tech community and geeks actually come true. But to put things into perspective, the closest star system to our Solar System is the Alpha Centauri which is 4.367 lightyears (41.32 trillion km) away. Even if the future versions of the Starship were to travel at 0.1 times the speed of light (which is highly unlikely), it would take the Starship over 43 years just to reach Alpha Centauri! unless…….scientists discovered a means to manipulate wormholes for space travel. But pragmatically, this new Starship project would significantly catalyze Elon’s mission to colonize Mars.