Not only will Elon Musk’s SpaceX use its Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) to ferry Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa and a posse of artists around the Moon as early as 2023, the CEO now says that he plans to live stream the whole thing in “high [definition] VR.”
The aerospace company’s headquarters in Hawthorne, California was particularly abuzz with excitement on Tuesday after Musk revealed that Maezawa had secured his spot as the first-ever private astronaut aboard what is planned to be SpaceX’s most-powerful, and largest spacecraft. The tech mogul built on that enthusiasm by revealing to his millions of followers they’d be able to watch it all from their VR headsets.
“Moon mission will be livestreamed in high def VR, so it’ll feel like you’re there in real-time minus a few seconds for speed of light,” wrote Musk.
Of course, before this even comes close to happening, the BFR still needs to be built and intensively tested to ensure the safety of its future passengers. However, if all the preparations for this moonshot go according to plan, it wouldn’t be the first time SpaceX has live streamed a historic rocket launch.
So far, the firm broadcasted footage of a test dummy sitting in the driver’s seat of a cherry red Tesla Roadster it blasted into space aboard its Falcon Heavy rocket. The live feed eventually cut off when the electric vehicle floated too far away from Earth, but Musk has an idea of how his company could sidestep that issue this time around.
One of his followers asked how providing a VR stream would be possible once the BFR reaches the far side of the Moon — a notorious communication dead zone because comm beams would need to travel through the entire diameter of the Moon. Musk said Starlink, SpaceX’s planned constellation of thousands of internet-providing satellites, could serve as relay beacons for the BFR. In a filing to the FCC, the company stated the array of orbiters could begin operations as early as 2019 or 2020.
That would be at least three or four years before the projected dates for BFR’s Lunar Mission, making this promise somewhat feasible.
But for now, the BFR is far from complete. The massive spacecraft will be assembled in a shipyard near the southwestern part of Los Angeles’ Terminal Island, which SpaceX leased as manufacturing ground for the rocket in March. When it’s complete Musk stated it will stand at 387 feet tall (118 meters) and be twice as powerful as the Falcon Heavy, which is currently SpaceX most powerful rocket system.
So stay tuned, we might all get a first-person view of what Maezawa and his artist friends are seeing once they blast off towards the Moon.
SpaceX did not immediately to a request for comment.