The International Astronautical Federation released the official video of his talk Monday, offering a new chance to see Musk’s plans. As Inverse reported in September, the big takeaway from the presentation is that Musk now believes SpaceX has found a way to pay for the company’s Mars ambitions.
The key, Musk explained, is through the development of the BFR — which supposedly stands for Big Falcon Rocket but, you know, the “F” probably stands for something else — to replace the existing Falcon 9 and the long-planned Falcon Heavy.
Bigger than the Saturn V that took the Apollo astronauts to the moon, this larger rocket would be able to take on all conceivable tasks in low-Earth orbit. Its reusability would, according to Musk, make it the cost-effective rocket to fly per cost of launch. This would make it the ideal workhorse for ferrying people and cargo the International Space Station and elsewhere around our planet.
Part of the plan even calls for using the BFR for passenger flights between any two points on Earth in less than an hour — though experts tell Inverse there’s reason to be skeptical of Musk’s math here.
Looking beyond Earth, Musk set 2022 as the “aspirational” date for the first two uncrewed SpaceX cargo ships to reach Mars, with 2024 as the similarly ambitious target date for the first human visitors. He also suggested the BFR could be used to help build a lunar outpost, which he gave the nerd-friendly name Moon Base Alpha.
While SpaceX has previously made Musk’s talk available as a webcast, this video from the IAF is just the headliner for a treasure trove of newly uploaded talks and discussions from the weeklong conference. What had largely been available just as a series of shakily shot periscopes is now online as official, high-definition YouTube videos. Any hardcore space nerds would do well to check them all out, but here are a few of our favorites.
Here’s a panel discussion looking ahead to the prospect of the first woman on the moon.
Here’s noted science guy Bill Nye discussing the LightSail, his crowdfunded solar sail project.
And here’s a look at SpaceX competitor Lockheed Martin’s own plans for the red planet, known as Mars Base Camp.