SpaceX’s launch of the Falcon Heavy on Tuesday has been hailed by many as a significant step forward for the private space flight industry. With it’s massive 64 ton payload capacity for low earth orbit flights, and the ability to allocate some of that storage to fuel for deep space flights the human race hasn’t been doing since the end of NASA’s Apollo missions, the successful test of the Falcon Heavy has been optimistically predicted to be the “turning point” in human space flight for the common man.
Gone are the days when national governments were the only entities with the power to explore the great beyond. Gone are the days resting on our Apollo-based laurels. Or at least, so people are hoping. Musk himself, however, took only a few hours to bask in the glow of the Falcon Heavy’s success before setting his sights on something bigger and better: the SpaceX BFR.
“I finished looking at the side boosters, and they’re pretty big—you know, 16 stories tall, 60-foot leg span,” Musk said at a press conference following the launch. “But really we need to be way bigger than that.”
In classic Musk style, the BFR began its life as a concept with a vulgar name and lofty goals. Since those early days on the drawing board, the “F” portion of the acronym was changed, appropriately, to “Falcon,” mirroring the Falcon 9 rockets that have brought the company so much success in recent years – to include effectively serving as the three components of the Falcon Heavy’s stage.