BFR (Big Falcon Rocket) is SpaceX's new, privately-funded, launch vehicle and spacecraft announced in September 2017.
The construction of the first prototype was announced to be underway in March 2018. SpaceX is expected to be able to make short (test) flights probably during the first half of 2019. For this, SpaceX has opened a new factory in the Port of Los Angeles, located about 32 kilometers south of the company's headquarters in Hawthorne, California.
The new SpaceX site occupies approximately 7.3 hectares (18 acres) on Terminal Island, a small industrial area between the San Pedro district of Los Angeles and the city of Long Beach, California.
After an initial 10-year lease, SpaceX will have the option of renewing the lease for the next two decades, which means the company could stay around Terminal Island for the next 30 years. The rent will cost SpaceX about $ 1.38 million a year.
The global architecture of the BFRs includes reusable launchers and spacecraft designed by SpaceX to replace all of the company's existing aircraft in the early 2020s, as well as ground-based infrastructure for rapid launches and relaunches and the ability to refuel in zero-gravity.
The BFR system is intended to replace the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy launchers, as well as the Dragon spacecraft, initially targeting the launch of the Earth and orbit, but explicitly adding substantial capabilities to support long-range spaceflight.
The BFR design was reduced to 9 meters in diameter and SpaceX rotated in 2017 to a plan that would support all launch service provider capabilities with a single vehicle lineup: Earth orbit, lunar orbit, interplanetary missions and even the intercontinental transport of passengers on Earth.
The Raptor rocket engines for the two-stage BFR launcher began in 2012 and engine testing began in 2016. New rocket engine designs typically have longer delays than other major launch vehicle and spacecraft components.
The company has publicly announced an ambitious target for the first BFR cargo flights to Mars by 2022, followed by the first crewed flight to Mars in 2024.
Credit: Photo of SpaceX and Google