SpaceX concept for multi-planetary civilizationEnlarge Photo
Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla and SpaceX, offered a new prediction for the future: travel by rocket will soon be feasible. Not just travel through space, but rocket travel right here on planet Earth. With his prediction, Musk believes long-distance trips could take mere minutes.
Musk made the comments at the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia, reports the BBC, and he said SpaceX has unlocked the secret to profitable space and rocket travel: reusability. SpaceX will focus on just one rocket now, called the BFR, and it will be capable of rocket travel on Earth and interplanetary trips. The BFR will replace SpaceX's current Falcon 9 and Dragon craft.
"Most of what people consider to be long-distance trips could be completed in less than half-an-hour," he said. A journey from New York City to London, England, would take just 29 minutes, according to Musk's SpaceX. Musk has envisioned similarly short travel times in local cities with Hyperloop and The Boring Company.
The reusability factor is the cornerstone to SpaceX now, and the entrepreneur believes space travel and missions are expensive because of one-time use projects. The BFR rocket SpaceX is developing would be totally reusable, and Musk imagines it operating like an airline on Earth. At this point in its design phase, the BFR is 348 feet tall and 29.5 feet wide. SpaceX plans to begin building the ships to handle the mission next year.
No timeline was given as to when humans would board rockets for point-to-point travel, but Musk said he wants unmanned rockets to reach Mars by 2022. In 2024, he wants to send humans to the planet. "That's not a typo, although it is aspirational," he added during the announcement.