Elon Musk proposes city-to-city rocket travel
Elon Musk, renowned innovator and CEO of SpaceX has once again made an incredible promise. During a conference last International Astronautical Congress, he unveiled his plans to take people to Mars. He ended his talk by stating that he would be using the same technology to shuttle people to Mars here on Earth as a city-to-city rocket travel system. Musk went on to claim that by calculations based on ballistics physics, a trip from New York to Shanghai would only take 39 minutes. A person could bridge the distance between Tokyo and Los Angeles in 32 minutes.
A New Method of Transport
Musk proposed making use of SpaceX’s up and coming rocket, the Big Fucking Rocket (BFR). The rocket, would carry a ship to orbital height and then descend onto levitating landing pads. These landing areas would be strategically located near major cities. At present, both the rocket and landing pads are still theoretical. Although, Musk did mention that he aims to start building the rocket within 9 months.
A SpaceX video illustrated the concept by showing passengers boarding a ship and being taken out to a launchpad at sea near New York. Passengers then board the ship mounted onto a rocket. Afterwards, the ship launches upward. As the ship leaves the atmosphere, it breaks away from the rocket and begins its flight towards Shanghai.
After 39 minutes, the ship has traveled over 11,000km and begins atmospheric reentry. It continually descends and lands on a separate pad in the waters of Shanghai.
This prospective travel method would be the fastest means of commercial transportation built in history. The ship’s speed would peak at roughly 29,000 kilometers per hour.
The payload for each launch could carry anywhere between 80 to 200 passengers each per trip.
Apprehension on rocket travel
Musk talked about his idea towards the end of his presentation. So technical details on his proposal weren’t discussed.
One lingering question is the passenger experience. Astronauts undergo rigorous training to adapt their bodies to space flight. Would the average person willingly put themselves through these sorts of stresses for a much shorter flight?
Other queries that remain unanswered on Musk’s rocket travel, include safety, cost, and regulation among many others. The public will probably remain skeptical of this project. But then again, more and more investors are saying, “Don’t bet against Elon Musk.”