Elon Musk is working hard on his plan to get to Mars. The tech entrepreneur shared a photo on his Instagram page Monday of the main body tool for his “BFR” — the abbreviated name of the interplanetary spaceship with the words “big” and “rocket” in the full title. The image gives an impression of the sheer scale of Musk’s project.
The image shows the tool next to a Tesla Model 3, the $35,000 electric car released last July. This gives a sense of the sheer scale of the rocket. At 184.8 inches long and 82.2 inches wide, the car cuts a respectable size despite having a frame around one-fifth the size of the Model S. In the below image, though, it’s eclipsed by the enormity of the “BFR.” With the full rocket set to measure 30 feet by 348 feet, including a 157-foot ship, it’s set to claim the title of largest space rocket ever in its quest to explore the solar system.
The rocket is likely to steal the Falcon Heavy’s record as the most powerful rocket in operation. It’s powered by 31 Raptor engines creating a liftoff thrust of 5,400 tons, capable of lifting a total vehicle mass of 4,400 tons. The Falcon Heavy, which launched a Tesla Roadster into space in February, has a liftoff thrust of 2,500 tons powered by three Falcon 9 cores. NASA’s Saturn V, operational between 1967 and 1973, holds the record for most powerful rocket ever used with 3,800 tons of liftoff thrust, a record the BFR could also claim.
The project is all part of Musk’s plan to host a manned mission to Mars by the year 2024. This involves SpaceX sending at least two BFR cargo ships to Mars in 2022, placing power and infrastructure to support refueling for future flights. This will be followed by four rockets two years later, two of which will carry people, to set up the propellant production plant and prepare for further expansion.
SpaceX needs cash first, though. The company plans to continue running its commercial missions while also exploring a $10 billion project to launch an array of 4,425 satellites, designed to bring internet access to the world.
The Tesla Model 3 was a big moment for Musk, but something even bigger is just around the corner.