SpaceX appears to actually be building its giant rocket that will take people to Mars. And it’s just been announced that the vehicle will be constructed in Los Angeles.
Called the BFR (Big Falcon Rocket), CEO Elon Musk revealed the rocket for the first time in 2016, followed by further details in 2017. At the time, it was thought the rocket was many years away, if it ever happened.
Capable of carrying up to 100 people at a time, Musk wants to use the BFR – which consists of a single large booster and a giant spaceship – to ultimately colonize Mars. It’s also touted that the BFR could enable human exploration of other corners of the Solar System.
But Musk surprised everyone earlier this year when he revealed that the BFR was the near-term goal for SpaceX. It would ultimately replace both their existing Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy rockets, and they planned to test the spaceship for the first time in 2019.
Now, in a further cementing of how serious SpaceX is about this rocket, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has announced that the BFR will be built at the Port of Los Angeles. The news was revealed in his State of the City address on Monday, April 16.
“Officially announcing that @SpaceX will start production development of the Big Falcon Rocket in the @PortofLA!” he wrote on Twitter. “This vehicle holds the promise of taking humanity deeper into the cosmos than ever before.”
“SpaceX has called the Port of Los Angeles home to our West Coast recovery operations since 2012, and we truly appreciate the City of Los Angeles’ continued partnership," SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell added in a statement.
"As announced today by Mayor Garcetti, the Port will play an increasingly important role in our mission to help make humanity multi-planetary as SpaceX begins production development of BFR – our next generation rocket and spaceship system capable of carrying crew and cargo to the Moon, Mars, and beyond.”
The announcement follows several images that have been revealed showing that BFR construction is already under way. Musk first shared a photo of a tent containing the “tooling” for the rocket, while the website Teslarati also snapped some shots of the tent and its interior.
It is almost unbelievable that this is all happening, as the BFR is rather ridiculous both in terms of size and capabilities. Towering more than 106 meters (348 feet) high, it would be the most powerful rocket ever built, bigger even than the Saturn V, and enable untold missions through the Solar System.
There are plenty of naysayers questioning whether the rocket will ever be built. But this latest news certainly suggests it may not be as ridiculous as thought.