US Air Force Talks SpaceX BFR for going anywhere on earth in under an hour

The new commander of AMC (Air Mobility Command), Gen. Maryanne Miller, said they have talked to SpaceX about transporting global cargo.

The Air Force had spoken to SpaceX about moving cargo in space. They would want to use SpaceX’s next-generation reusable BFR rocket.

Apart from cargo operations, they would look at pre-positioning equipment and supplies in orbit, which would ready to be dropped to Earth.

The previous head of Air Mobility Command, Gen. Carlton Everhart, espoused the possibility of moving cargo using rockets during a Defense Writers Group breakfast in August.

“Think about this. Thirty minutes, 150 metric tons and less than the cost of a C-5,” he said at the time.

278 thoughts on “US Air Force Talks SpaceX BFR for going anywhere on earth in under an hour”

  1. Strikes me that the BFR is a fairly vulnerable target. So SpaceX had better have a good compensation plan in place for damaged rockets if they’re going to be used to drop cargo into active war zones.

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  2. So C-5’s cost about $260 million. So it is certainly less than that. Probably in the tens of millions. Then there is this: https://www.businessinsider.com/air-force-plane-cost-per-flight-hour-chart-2016-3 So they have a range of 6,000 nm. To go to the other side of the planet[12,000nm] they’d need to make at least one refueling. Then repeat to get back to where you were going. Round trip of 24,000nm. Cruising speed is about 570nm/hr. So it would take 42 hours to make that round trip. They have a max cargo capacity of about 75 tons[half what the BFR *should* eventually be offering(or at least what this guy is quoting from what SpaceX told him)]. So you’d need to make that 42 hour trip twice to get the same amount of cargo. For a total of 84 hours of flight operations. At $100,000/hr, that is $8.4 million dollars for those two trips and at 1/168th the speed. Obviously refueling would add to this[either stopping at a base or getting another plane up to do it mid-air]. We have no idea how much the “less than” amount is, but obviously hauling that much equipment across the globe isn’t cheap to begin with. If SpaceX can just provide the service, without having to pay the upkeep, I can see where they are getting at this[possibly] being useful. All theoretical, of course. But being able to drop 150 tons of men and equipment anywhere on the planet has its uses if needed really quickly.

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  3. Strikes me that the BFR is a fairly vulnerable target. So SpaceX had better have a good compensation plan in place for damaged rockets, if they’re going to be used to drop cargo into active war zones.

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  4. First thought: “well, anywhere to Earth in under an hour…that has a landing pad.” But then I remembered BFR was designed to land on Mars. Albeit that’s 0.38-G, but also much thinner atmosphere… I suppose if it’s relatively flat, even on Earth it seems plausible. 150 MT is quite a bit of hardware, too.

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  5. So C-5’s cost about $260 million. So it is certainly less than that. Probably in the tens of millions.Then there is this:https://www.businessinsider.com/air-force-plane-cost-per-flight-hour-chart-2016-3So they have a range of 6000 nm. To go to the other side of the planet[12000nm] they’d need to make at least one refueling. Then repeat to get back to where you were going. Round trip of 24000nm. Cruising speed is about 570nm/hr. So it would take 42 hours to make that round trip. They have a max cargo capacity of about 75 tons[half what the BFR *should* eventually be offering(or at least what this guy is quoting from what SpaceX told him)].So you’d need to make that 42 hour trip twice to get the same amount of cargo. For a total of 84 hours of flight operations. At $100000/hr that is $8.4 million dollars for those two trips and at 1/168th the speed. Obviously refueling would add to this[either stopping at a base or getting another plane up to do it mid-air]. We have no idea how much the less than”” amount is”” but obviously hauling that much equipment across the globe isn’t cheap to begin with. If SpaceX can just provide the service without having to pay the upkeep I can see where they are getting at this[possibly] being useful.All theoretical”” of course. But being able to drop 150 tons of men and equipment anywhere on the planet has its uses if needed really quickly.”””

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  6. First thought: well” anywhere to Earth in under an hour…that has a landing pad.””But then I remembered BFR was designed to land on Mars. Albeit that’s 0.38-G”” but also much thinner atmosphere… I suppose if it’s relatively flat even on Earth it seems plausible. 150 MT is quite a bit of hardware”” too.”””

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  7. It doesn’t matter when they stopped making them. The guy was making an estimate, probably off the cuff, that the point-to-point cost for a BFS to move 150 tons would be “less than a C5”. Meaning that *at the most* it would be $270 million, which is the unit production cost of each aircraft in today’s dollars, after adjustment for inflation. Or $180 million in 98. Or even less in the 80’s. https://www.globalaircraft.org/planes/c-5_galaxy.pl

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  8. I hate to say it, but this is where I was heading since quite some time ago. The main application for the BFR will NOT be going to Mars (whether it happens or not is not relevant) Nor will be asteroid mining In the short term at least, being able to move people from one placec to another on Earth at a relatively small budget and within one hour will be the killer applicaation of SpaceX Goat Guy said that tickets will be in the million dollars range, but I bet he is deep wrong One way 30000 USd is my estimate Luca Mazza (R)

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  9. It is when I read comments like this from frustrated psychos like this guy William here is when I think Iran should get nukes. And soon.

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  10. I’m dying to see how you get a BFS to do evasive maneuvers during terminal guidance. And it’s not exactly a hardened target. A single bullet through a thrust chamber should almost do the trick. and if not, seven bullets through seven thrust chambers sounds pretty straightforward.

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  11. Considering the C5 is built under government contract, and operated by the AF using parts sold by fat cat government contractors, SpaceX may eventually be able to undercut the cost of a 12,000 mile flight.

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  12. I can’t believe I didn’t see it. The Army, and Marines will use BFR for ultra-rapid deployment. Suborbital flight anywhere on the planet, and it doesn’t even need a runway! Do final braking with as many engines as possible, and it clears hostiles off the LZ!!!! The rocket wash would knock down nearby buildings, and any nearby vehicle short of a battle tank.

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  13. I’ll bet you the military will buy their own version, optimized for suborbital flight. Then SpaceX can use most of the development work for a commercial version.

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  14. I call it arriving in style. Then the door opens and marines in full exoskeleton gear come out to finish off whoever is still not fully cooked. LOL.

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  15. pre-positioning equipment and supplies in orbit” which would ready to be dropped to Earth.”” LOL. Supplies like “”””rods of god”””””””

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  16. It doesn’t matter when they stopped making them. The guy was making an estimate probably off the cuff that the point-to-point cost for a BFS to move 150 tons would be less than a C5″”. Meaning that *at the most* it would be $270 million”” which is the unit production cost of each aircraft in today’s dollars”” after adjustment for inflation.Or $180 million in 98. Or even less in the 80’s. https://www.globalaircraft.org/planes/c-5_galaxy.pl“””

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  17. I hate to say it but this is where I was heading since quite some time ago.The main application for the BFR will NOT be going to Mars (whether it happens or not is not relevant)Nor will be asteroid mining In the short term at least being able to move people from one placec to another on Earth at a relatively small budget and within one hour will be the killer applicaation of SpaceX Goat Guy said that tickets will be in the million dollars range but I bet he is deep wrong One way 30000 USd is my estimate Luca Mazza (R)

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  18. It is when I read comments like this from frustrated psychos like this guy William here is when I think Iran should get nukes. And soon.

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  19. I’m dying to see how you get a BFS to do evasive maneuvers during terminal guidance. And it’s not exactly a hardened target. A single bullet through a thrust chamber should almost do the trick. and if not seven bullets through seven thrust chambers sounds pretty straightforward.

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  20. Considering the C5 is built under government contract and operated by the AF using parts sold by fat cat government contractors SpaceX may eventually be able to undercut the cost of a 12000 mile flight.

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  21. I can’t believe I didn’t see it. The Army and Marines will use BFR for ultra-rapid deployment. Suborbital flight anywhere on the planet and it doesn’t even need a runway! Do final braking with as many engines as possible and it clears hostiles off the LZ!!!! The rocket wash would knock down nearby buildings and any nearby vehicle short of a battle tank.

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  22. I’ll bet you the military will buy their own version optimized for suborbital flight. Then SpaceX can use most of the development work for a commercial version.

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  23. Killer app for BFR and it will give Elon enough money to pursue more ambitious goals like Mars/Moon activity, asteroid mining, building large fleet of BFR, maybe even Pluto outpost in near future (mid to late 20’s)

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  24. I think he is comparing cost of use for both. There is fuel for the aircraft, maintenance, wear and tear on the engines, tires, and other components, the flight pay of the pilots, loading and unloading. If there is an inflight refueling, that fuel is very expensive because of the aircraft to get it there, and wear and tear on that aircraft. And that fuel may have gone halfway around the world already to get to the base the tanker flew from. And it takes a lot of people working together to get the load there. Then there is the fact that an airport may not really be where you want the stuff. So, you will have to load it on trucks to get it where you really want it, while the rocket could make the delivery just about anywhere including landing on an aircraft carrier. I think it might be good for emergency stuff to Antarctica in winter. They currently can’t land there in winter. It is just too dangerous, but a rocket may be able to. And it is all automated so there is no pilot’s life to be endangered in the delivery.

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  25. BFR launches in safe home turf. BFS lands very fast I presume dropping down from orbit would be. Not an easy target in most situations.

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  26. I call it arriving in style. Then the door opens and marines in full exoskeleton gear come out to finish off whoever is still not fully cooked. LOL.

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  27. Killer app for BFR and it will give Elon enough money to pursue more ambitious goals like Mars/Moon activity asteroid mining building large fleet of BFR maybe even Pluto outpost in near future (mid to late 20’s)

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  28. I think he is comparing cost of use for both. There is fuel for the aircraft maintenance wear and tear on the engines tires and other components the flight pay of the pilots loading and unloading. If there is an inflight refueling that fuel is very expensive because of the aircraft to get it there and wear and tear on that aircraft. And that fuel may have gone halfway around the world already to get to the base the tanker flew from. And it takes a lot of people working together to get the load there. Then there is the fact that an airport may not really be where you want the stuff. So you will have to load it on trucks to get it where you really want it while the rocket could make the delivery just about anywhere including landing on an aircraft carrier.I think it might be good for emergency stuff to Antarctica in winter. They currently can’t land there in winter. It is just too dangerous but a rocket may be able to. And it is all automated so there is no pilot’s life to be endangered in the delivery.

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  29. BFR launches in safe home turf. BFS lands very fast I presume dropping down from orbit would be. Not an easy target in most situations.

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  30. You got it half right. The BFR won’t be the highly vulnerable target, it will be the big fuel depot they need to refuel the rocket for the next flight. But then again that’s where almost all troop losses are these days, simply protecting liquid fuels.

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  31. Yes and no, nothing like that much: “In January 2016, SpaceX did agree with the US Air Force to take US$33.6 million in defense department funding in order to develop a particular Raptor model” SpaceX committed to 2:1 funding, ie, they provided $2 for every $1 DOD

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  32. You got it half right. The BFR won’t be the highly vulnerable target it will be the big fuel depot they need to refuel the rocket for the next flight.But then again that’s where almost all troop losses are these days simply protecting liquid fuels.

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  33. Yes and no nothing like that much:In January 2016″” SpaceX did agree with the US Air Force to take US$33.6 million in defense department funding in order to develop a particular Raptor model””SpaceX committed to 2:1 funding”” ie”” they provided $2 for every $1 DOD”””

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  34. 2 reasons: First, he probably doesn’t want to sell his soul to the devil completely, and second, the government is inept and likes giving contracts to Boeing and Lockheed.

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  35. Unfortunately, given transit times, we won’t be seeing any humans out to Pluto or the ice giants until probably the 2030s at the earliest. And you would either need a truly massive ship to keep people fed for several years, or advanced nuclear propulsion, or cryostasis. None of these options get done in the 2020s.

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  36. I’m not sure if there’s a phase of re-entry where the craft is going slow enough to allow for actual jumping. I think it stays supersonic until relatively close to the ground. But Michael’s suggestion of a drop pod with parachutes could definitely work.

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  37. Its meant for C-5 level safe and fast transport capability, not some starship troopers drop pod doging AA fire… Where do you people get these comical ideas?

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  38. It’s a question of how versatile the landing options are, or alternatively as you say, if they can deploy a drop pod on the way down. In my estimation, if it gives them the ability to perform a raid of a similar type to the 2011 Bin Laden raid, then it is worth it, because the alternative is helicopters and probably a total time taken, getting Seal Team Six from home base to the operational zone of probably something like 24 hours. So, in my mind, if they can get close enough to the target that they can perform the operation within a few short hours, as opposed to a day, that’s worth it. Of course, this also assumes that you don’t care as much about exfil, obviously. But some situations don’t require exfil. For example, your typical Tom Clancy-esque ‘rogue general has a nuke’ scenario. In that situation, you don’t particularly care if your Seals have a way out; you mainly just want the rogue actors taken care of ASAP. So that’s my 2c.

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  39. No, that isn’t the case, and the C-17 can’t go anywhere, from anywhere, in 30 min or less. Adn the BFR you can use for at least 100 flights of 30 min apiece.

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  40. From wikipedia /wiki/Speed_skydiving Stable freefall head down position has a terminal speed of 240-290 km/h (around 150-180 mph). Further minimization of drag by streamlining the body allows for speeds in the vicinity of 480 km/h (300 mph).”” That’s about half the speed of sound at sea level.So for a Star-Trek-like orbital jump”” I imagine you’d need a somewhat rigid jump suit with an oxygen supply inside a personal drop pod that can survive reentry without cooking the jumper. After reentry the pod would deploy a small drogue chute fins or some other structure to slow down to terminal velocity then fall off. At that point the suit would take over”” and you’ll proceed as with normal HALO.”””

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  41. This was studied as far back as 1966 at McDonnell Douglas as the Ithacus”” project”””” when they were hoping that aerospike engines would bring the next step in rocket performance. Look for it at astronautix.com”””

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  42. Its meant for C-5 level safe and fast transport capability not some starship troopers drop pod doging AA fire… Where do you people get these comical ideas?

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  43. No that isn’t the case and the C-17 can’t go anywhere from anywhere in 30 min or less. Adn the BFR you can use for at least 100 flights of 30 min apiece.

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  44. That is what I was saying, thanks. When the production of the thing was halted is completely out in left field since we have an approximation for the cost. And the assumption that it’s going to be all that much cheaper to send X Tons to the other side of the planet is probably not entirely accurate. How that is going to stack up vs the BFR is an entirely different story. since we have no idea how much it will cost to refurbish.

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  45. There are no good guys The bad guys and the worse guys. You ae part of the latter category On, there are also the trolls, your friend Warren is one of them

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  46. Maybe the expense of protecting liquid fuels could be reduced by taking the Kilopower reactor design & modifying it so it uses low enriched uranium. My understanding is that the design for spacecraft uses uranium so highly enriched that it is usable for a nuclear bomb. Guarding lots of bomb grade uranium would be a security nightmare in a war zone.

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  47. From wikipedia /wiki/Speed_skydiving , “Stable freefall head down position has a terminal speed of 240-290 km/h (around 150-180 mph). Further minimization of drag by streamlining the body allows for speeds in the vicinity of 480 km/h (300 mph).” That’s about half the speed of sound at sea level. So for a Star-Trek-like orbital jump, I imagine you’d need a somewhat rigid jump suit with an oxygen supply, inside a personal drop pod that can survive reentry without cooking the jumper. After reentry the pod would deploy a small drogue chute, fins, or some other structure to slow down to terminal velocity, then fall off. At that point, the suit would take over, and you’ll proceed as with normal HALO.

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  48. This was studied as far back as 1966 at McDonnell Douglas, as the “Ithacus” project, when they were hoping that aerospike engines would bring the next step in rocket performance. Look for it at astronautix.com

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  49. Yep that one and ROMBUS were clearly meant to allow point to point transport of gear and people (over a thousand or so troops) here on Earth as an alternative to overseas bases. ROMBUS and its derivative Ithacus were massive designed for taking 450 tons or so to LEO or an equivalent payload across continents.ROMBUS was sold more as a reusable near-SSTO (it dropped some tanks along the way) for space use and travel while Ithacus was always presented as point to point troop carrier.With BFR these cold war dreams/nightmares could be revived and become the first actual usage of point to point rocket transportation.

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  50. That is what I was saying thanks. When the production of the thing was halted is completely out in left field since we have an approximation for the cost. And the assumption that it’s going to be all that much cheaper to send X Tons to the other side of the planet is probably not entirely accurate.How that is going to stack up vs the BFR is an entirely different story. since we have no idea how much it will cost to refurbish.

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  51. There are no good guys The bad guys and the worse guys. You ae part of the latter category On there are also the trolls your friend Warren is one of them

    Reply
  52. Maybe the expense of protecting liquid fuels could be reduced by taking the Kilopower reactor design & modifying it so it uses low enriched uranium. My understanding is that the design for spacecraft uses uranium so highly enriched that it is usable for a nuclear bomb. Guarding lots of bomb grade uranium would be a security nightmare in a war zone.

    Reply
  53. Impossible. You can dream about sending humans to Mars in a tin can because it would be a 3-6 month trip as per SpaceX’s projections. With supplies already sent and waiting in place. Gee, there have been plans for a BFS to Jupiter and Saturn, taking between 2-3 years each way. And that already stretches the believability of the scheme for sending human beings, concerning radiation exposure, supplies and overall risk. A manned trip to Pluto, even if technically possible with orbital refueling, would take the better part of a decade. That’s humanly impossible. For dreaming about that, humanity needs to develop nuclear rockets, preferably fusion ones that could do the trip in a couple years tops, with all the required supplies and artificial gravity. That’s “The Expanse” level of technology.

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  54. Yep, that one and ROMBUS were clearly meant to allow point to point transport of gear and people (over a thousand or so troops) here on Earth, as an alternative to overseas bases. ROMBUS and its derivative Ithacus were massive, designed for taking 450 tons or so to LEO or an equivalent payload across continents. ROMBUS was sold more as a reusable near-SSTO (it dropped some tanks along the way) for space use and travel, while Ithacus was always presented as point to point troop carrier. With BFR, these cold war dreams/nightmares could be revived, and become the first actual usage of point to point rocket transportation.

    Reply
  55. Impossible. You can dream about sending humans to Mars in a tin can because it would be a 3-6 month trip as per SpaceX’s projections. With supplies already sent and waiting in place.Gee there have been plans for a BFS to Jupiter and Saturn taking between 2-3 years each way. And that already stretches the believability of the scheme for sending human beings concerning radiation exposure supplies and overall risk.A manned trip to Pluto even if technically possible with orbital refueling would take the better part of a decade. That’s humanly impossible.For dreaming about that humanity needs to develop nuclear rockets preferably fusion ones that could do the trip in a couple years tops with all the required supplies and artificial gravity. That’s The Expanse”” level of technology.”””

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  56. Not 1000, but that’s overkill anyway – SF units are smaller. The military has long been looking for a way to put a MARSOC company somewhere in the world in an hour. They’d be happy with 50-100 guys.

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  57. Regarding scale, even with 1000 BFS flights per year, that’s only ~250000 tons of methane per year. With full BFR flights (or more BFS flights), ~1 million tons. That translates to 2.75 million tons/year of CO2. Let’s call that 10 million (more flights). That kind of capacity is maybe 100 large factories. Even 1000 factories is a far cry from mass production. Mass production is when you hit tens of thousands of units at least, preferably hundreds of thousands or more. Btw, for comparison, global CO2 emissions are ~35 billion tons/year.

    There is another green way to get methane from atmospheric CO2, and that’s biomethane. I particularly like the idea of kelp farming for biomethane. There are a few startups and research groups working on that. But there are still many hurdles to overcome to get the scale up and the costs down. Like I said, natural gas is difficult to compete with.

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  58. How much air there is is actually part of the problem (for this particular endeavor). Per given volume, there’s ~15 times less CO2 on Earth, but there’s over 4000 times as much other gas, which you need to separate out.

    Maybe there are processes where that’s not as big a problem as it sounds. But the key point is that all that processing costs a lot of energy and money, which makes this expensive. When there’s a much cheaper alternative in the form of natural gas (whether LNG, CNG, or whatever other form), it’s just not economical. Natural gas is *very* cheap on Earth, so it’s tough hurdle.

    On Mars, methane from CO2 is going to be just as expensive, give or take, but there’s no cheaper alternative, so there’s no choice.

    Captured CO2 from industrial processes is better, but the capture, separation, etc still cost money, and the Sabatier reaction (the primary means to convert CO2 to methane) will still require energy etc.

    The hydrogen you need for Sabatier also has to come from somewhere. On Earth, that usually comes from fossil fuels, with CO and CO2 as byproducts (the CO + H2 together make syngas, which can be converted to various other chemicals). But if you’re aiming for a fossil fuel, starting from a fossil fuel, going through these extra steps makes little sense – unless you have an excess of one type of fossil fuel, and want to convert it to a different type of which you have a shortage. But there’s no shortage of methane on a global scale.

    Hydrogen from water is much more expensive, and if you’re using fossil fuels to power the water splitting, than you again get CO2 as byproduct.

    Finally, CO2 from fossil fuel power plants is completely useless, since converting it back to a fossil fuel would take more energy than you got from the original fuel that produced the CO2 (due to inefficiencies). May as well use the fossil fuel directly.

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  59. Not soon, but Soon(tm). It’s not that dilute either, given how much air there is. There’s only 15x more CO2 molecules per given volume on Mars than on Earth, and it’s only really a case of sizing a bigger fan to blow the air through your chosen scrubbing medium. It could also be utilised as a byproduct of industries that scrub their flues already. It’s only expensive because no one’s doing it yet, if there were a plant at every BFR launch site (tens? hundreds? for point to point travel), then the equipment would be cheap and mass produced. Solar power the furnace and you’ve got yourself a nice green solution.

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  60. Make a war its anoying at this time. with nuclear bombs and this rockets you dont have time to think twice before you lose the war or better saying BEFORE WE LOSE OUR WORLD.
    Saying that will be nice to tranport materials to improve bad regions or region devastating by earthquick or tsunami. I like it.

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  61. > assuming it can compete cost-wise with LNG

    It can’t, not anytime soon. Astomspheric CO2 is far too dilute on Earth. On Mars there’s no LNG, and the atmospheric CO2 is much purer.

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  62. True, but consider that a BFS needs 1100 tons of methalox to fully refuel, vs ~1.5 tons of diesel per M1 Abrams (1900 L * ~0.8 kg/L) or even ~160 tons of jet fuel for a C5 Galaxy.

    Diesel and jet fuel are easier to store and transport than cryogenic methalox (esp in various hot desert countries, I’d guess). The C5 can probably land with enough fuel to take off and leave the immediate danger zone, and then refuel in flight, something that BFS can’t do. And campaigns with hundreds of tanks (or maybe even dozens of them?) are pretty rare, complicated, and expensive – partly because of the logistics.

    I’ll grant that an empty BFS probably doesn’t need to be fully refueled. So I suppose it’s doable. But easy and cheap it probably isn’t.

    One other thought: While standing on the pad, waiting to refuel, a vertical BFS is a much easier target than even a C5. All it takes is one bullet to the fuel tanks, and you get a very large BOOM. If not right away, then when it tries to take off.

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  63. Actually, he made an enormous category error, for no reason presuming LNG is far harder to get than the fuels the military already uses.

    POL (is used all the time) vs LNG (is unobtanium).

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  64. At ~3 g going from 9500 to 500 m/s would take 300 sec or 5 min. In that time, assuming uniform acceleration (which is wrong), the pod would cover ~1500 km. So yeah, shallow reentry angle and a long glide. Meaning the pod also needs some winglets or a lifting body shape. Maybe MOOSE or a larger pod would work better after all.

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  65. The advantage of individual pods is that when the pod breaks off, the jumper is already oriented correctly. If they have to jump off a larger drop pod, there’s a period at the start of the jump when they’re adjusting their orientation. So they have to start at a much lower speed (I think).

    The MOOSE shape is way off for orbital jumps. I’m thinking a streamlined tear-shaped pod, with the jumper positioned head-first with a straight body, as he would be during the free dive. Just enough heat shield and spacing to keep him or her at a reasonable temperature, drogue chute packed into the rear, and some minimal attitude control and avionics for the reentry phase. Oxygen supply is on the jump suit, unless it’ll be too large. In that case you’d need a primary in the pod and smaller secondary on the suit.

    Reenter, deploy drogue, slow down to terminal velocity, break off the pod shell like an artillery shell’s sabot, jumper proceeds as in normal HALO. The point where the pod breaks off would be equivalent to when the jumper has already oriented themselves for the dive in a regular HALO jump (but probably at higher altitude).

    The deceleration gee force may be an issue given how the jumper is oriented, but that depends on the reentry angle and any glide trajectory during the deceleration phase.

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  66. Won’t the boat trip out to the launch pad and loading cargo onto the BFR itself all take more than an hour? Should space-ports not be at ocean, but a hyperloop (or at least very fast subway train) inland somewhere away from major metro areas?

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  67. Impossible. You can dream about sending humans to Mars in a tin can because it would be a 3-6 month trip as per SpaceX’s projections. With supplies already sent and waiting in place. Gee, there have been plans for a BFS to Jupiter and Saturn, taking between 2-3 years each way. And that already stretches the believability of the scheme for sending human beings, concerning radiation exposure, supplies and overall risk. A manned trip to Pluto, even if technically possible with orbital refueling, would take the better part of a decade. That’s humanly impossible. For dreaming about that, humanity needs to develop nuclear rockets, preferably fusion ones that could do the trip in a couple years tops, with all the required supplies and artificial gravity. That’s “The Expanse” level of technology.

    Reply
  68. Impossible. You can dream about sending humans to Mars in a tin can because it would be a 3-6 month trip as per SpaceX’s projections. With supplies already sent and waiting in place.Gee there have been plans for a BFS to Jupiter and Saturn taking between 2-3 years each way. And that already stretches the believability of the scheme for sending human beings concerning radiation exposure supplies and overall risk.A manned trip to Pluto even if technically possible with orbital refueling would take the better part of a decade. That’s humanly impossible.For dreaming about that humanity needs to develop nuclear rockets preferably fusion ones that could do the trip in a couple years tops with all the required supplies and artificial gravity. That’s The Expanse”” level of technology.”””

    Reply
  69. Yep, that one and ROMBUS were clearly meant to allow point to point transport of gear and people (over a thousand or so troops) here on Earth, as an alternative to overseas bases. ROMBUS and its derivative Ithacus were massive, designed for taking 450 tons or so to LEO or an equivalent payload across continents. ROMBUS was sold more as a reusable near-SSTO (it dropped some tanks along the way) for space use and travel, while Ithacus was always presented as point to point troop carrier. With BFR, these cold war dreams/nightmares could be revived, and become the first actual usage of point to point rocket transportation.

    Reply
  70. Yep that one and ROMBUS were clearly meant to allow point to point transport of gear and people (over a thousand or so troops) here on Earth as an alternative to overseas bases. ROMBUS and its derivative Ithacus were massive designed for taking 450 tons or so to LEO or an equivalent payload across continents.ROMBUS was sold more as a reusable near-SSTO (it dropped some tanks along the way) for space use and travel while Ithacus was always presented as point to point troop carrier.With BFR these cold war dreams/nightmares could be revived and become the first actual usage of point to point rocket transportation.

    Reply
  71. That is what I was saying, thanks. When the production of the thing was halted is completely out in left field since we have an approximation for the cost. And the assumption that it’s going to be all that much cheaper to send X Tons to the other side of the planet is probably not entirely accurate. How that is going to stack up vs the BFR is an entirely different story. since we have no idea how much it will cost to refurbish.

    Reply
  72. That is what I was saying thanks. When the production of the thing was halted is completely out in left field since we have an approximation for the cost. And the assumption that it’s going to be all that much cheaper to send X Tons to the other side of the planet is probably not entirely accurate.How that is going to stack up vs the BFR is an entirely different story. since we have no idea how much it will cost to refurbish.

    Reply
  73. There are no good guys The bad guys and the worse guys. You ae part of the latter category On, there are also the trolls, your friend Warren is one of them

    Reply
  74. There are no good guys The bad guys and the worse guys. You ae part of the latter category On there are also the trolls your friend Warren is one of them

    Reply
  75. Maybe the expense of protecting liquid fuels could be reduced by taking the Kilopower reactor design & modifying it so it uses low enriched uranium. My understanding is that the design for spacecraft uses uranium so highly enriched that it is usable for a nuclear bomb. Guarding lots of bomb grade uranium would be a security nightmare in a war zone.

    Reply
  76. Maybe the expense of protecting liquid fuels could be reduced by taking the Kilopower reactor design & modifying it so it uses low enriched uranium. My understanding is that the design for spacecraft uses uranium so highly enriched that it is usable for a nuclear bomb. Guarding lots of bomb grade uranium would be a security nightmare in a war zone.

    Reply
  77. From wikipedia /wiki/Speed_skydiving , “Stable freefall head down position has a terminal speed of 240-290 km/h (around 150-180 mph). Further minimization of drag by streamlining the body allows for speeds in the vicinity of 480 km/h (300 mph).” That’s about half the speed of sound at sea level. So for a Star-Trek-like orbital jump, I imagine you’d need a somewhat rigid jump suit with an oxygen supply, inside a personal drop pod that can survive reentry without cooking the jumper. After reentry the pod would deploy a small drogue chute, fins, or some other structure to slow down to terminal velocity, then fall off. At that point, the suit would take over, and you’ll proceed as with normal HALO.

    Reply
  78. From wikipedia /wiki/Speed_skydiving Stable freefall head down position has a terminal speed of 240-290 km/h (around 150-180 mph). Further minimization of drag by streamlining the body allows for speeds in the vicinity of 480 km/h (300 mph).”” That’s about half the speed of sound at sea level.So for a Star-Trek-like orbital jump”” I imagine you’d need a somewhat rigid jump suit with an oxygen supply inside a personal drop pod that can survive reentry without cooking the jumper. After reentry the pod would deploy a small drogue chute fins or some other structure to slow down to terminal velocity then fall off. At that point the suit would take over”” and you’ll proceed as with normal HALO.”””

    Reply
  79. This was studied as far back as 1966 at McDonnell Douglas, as the “Ithacus” project, when they were hoping that aerospike engines would bring the next step in rocket performance. Look for it at astronautix.com

    Reply
  80. This was studied as far back as 1966 at McDonnell Douglas as the Ithacus”” project”””” when they were hoping that aerospike engines would bring the next step in rocket performance. Look for it at astronautix.com”””

    Reply
  81. 2 reasons: First, he probably doesn’t want to sell his soul to the devil completely, and second, the government is inept and likes giving contracts to Boeing and Lockheed.

    Reply
  82. Unfortunately, given transit times, we won’t be seeing any humans out to Pluto or the ice giants until probably the 2030s at the earliest. And you would either need a truly massive ship to keep people fed for several years, or advanced nuclear propulsion, or cryostasis. None of these options get done in the 2020s.

    Reply
  83. I’m not sure if there’s a phase of re-entry where the craft is going slow enough to allow for actual jumping. I think it stays supersonic until relatively close to the ground. But Michael’s suggestion of a drop pod with parachutes could definitely work.

    Reply
  84. Its meant for C-5 level safe and fast transport capability, not some starship troopers drop pod doging AA fire… Where do you people get these comical ideas?

    Reply
  85. Its meant for C-5 level safe and fast transport capability not some starship troopers drop pod doging AA fire… Where do you people get these comical ideas?

    Reply
  86. It’s a question of how versatile the landing options are, or alternatively as you say, if they can deploy a drop pod on the way down. In my estimation, if it gives them the ability to perform a raid of a similar type to the 2011 Bin Laden raid, then it is worth it, because the alternative is helicopters and probably a total time taken, getting Seal Team Six from home base to the operational zone of probably something like 24 hours. So, in my mind, if they can get close enough to the target that they can perform the operation within a few short hours, as opposed to a day, that’s worth it. Of course, this also assumes that you don’t care as much about exfil, obviously. But some situations don’t require exfil. For example, your typical Tom Clancy-esque ‘rogue general has a nuke’ scenario. In that situation, you don’t particularly care if your Seals have a way out; you mainly just want the rogue actors taken care of ASAP. So that’s my 2c.

    Reply
  87. No, that isn’t the case, and the C-17 can’t go anywhere, from anywhere, in 30 min or less. Adn the BFR you can use for at least 100 flights of 30 min apiece.

    Reply
  88. No that isn’t the case and the C-17 can’t go anywhere from anywhere in 30 min or less. Adn the BFR you can use for at least 100 flights of 30 min apiece.

    Reply
  89. You got it half right. The BFR won’t be the highly vulnerable target, it will be the big fuel depot they need to refuel the rocket for the next flight. But then again that’s where almost all troop losses are these days, simply protecting liquid fuels.

    Reply
  90. You got it half right. The BFR won’t be the highly vulnerable target it will be the big fuel depot they need to refuel the rocket for the next flight.But then again that’s where almost all troop losses are these days simply protecting liquid fuels.

    Reply
  91. Yes and no, nothing like that much: “In January 2016, SpaceX did agree with the US Air Force to take US$33.6 million in defense department funding in order to develop a particular Raptor model” SpaceX committed to 2:1 funding, ie, they provided $2 for every $1 DOD

    Reply
  92. Yes and no nothing like that much:In January 2016″” SpaceX did agree with the US Air Force to take US$33.6 million in defense department funding in order to develop a particular Raptor model””SpaceX committed to 2:1 funding”” ie”” they provided $2 for every $1 DOD”””

    Reply
  93. Look up MOOSE, “Manned Orbital Operations Safety Equipment”. An inflatable individual reentry vehicle.

    Though I suspect a group reentry vehicle that you HALO dropped from after ablative reentry would be more practical.

    Reply
  94. 8 lightminutes per AU. Pluto is ~30 AU IIRC, which makes for 240 min, i.e 4 hours for the radio signal to reach Pluto. 4 more for the response to travel back. Way too much lag for any AR/VR/telepresence. Plus you have bandwidth issues because of the inverse square law.

    Reply
  95. Killer app for BFR and it will give Elon enough money to pursue more ambitious goals like Mars/Moon activity, asteroid mining, building large fleet of BFR, maybe even Pluto outpost in near future (mid to late 20’s)

    Reply
  96. Killer app for BFR and it will give Elon enough money to pursue more ambitious goals like Mars/Moon activity asteroid mining building large fleet of BFR maybe even Pluto outpost in near future (mid to late 20’s)

    Reply
  97. Cargo planes coming into secured airports in war zones do all kinds of weird things to avoid being shot down on approach. The problem with a tail-down rocket landing is that the range of weird things you can do is pretty much nonexistent.

    Reply
  98. Just a little problem with your fairy dreams : The return fuel ! Liquid methane and liquid oxygen !

    Because without fuel and a refuelling station the BFR is no longer a recoverable rocket.

    Reply
  99. I think he is comparing cost of use for both. There is fuel for the aircraft, maintenance, wear and tear on the engines, tires, and other components, the flight pay of the pilots, loading and unloading. If there is an inflight refueling, that fuel is very expensive because of the aircraft to get it there, and wear and tear on that aircraft. And that fuel may have gone halfway around the world already to get to the base the tanker flew from. And it takes a lot of people working together to get the load there. Then there is the fact that an airport may not really be where you want the stuff. So, you will have to load it on trucks to get it where you really want it, while the rocket could make the delivery just about anywhere including landing on an aircraft carrier. I think it might be good for emergency stuff to Antarctica in winter. They currently can’t land there in winter. It is just too dangerous, but a rocket may be able to. And it is all automated so there is no pilot’s life to be endangered in the delivery.

    Reply
  100. I think he is comparing cost of use for both. There is fuel for the aircraft maintenance wear and tear on the engines tires and other components the flight pay of the pilots loading and unloading. If there is an inflight refueling that fuel is very expensive because of the aircraft to get it there and wear and tear on that aircraft. And that fuel may have gone halfway around the world already to get to the base the tanker flew from. And it takes a lot of people working together to get the load there. Then there is the fact that an airport may not really be where you want the stuff. So you will have to load it on trucks to get it where you really want it while the rocket could make the delivery just about anywhere including landing on an aircraft carrier.I think it might be good for emergency stuff to Antarctica in winter. They currently can’t land there in winter. It is just too dangerous but a rocket may be able to. And it is all automated so there is no pilot’s life to be endangered in the delivery.

    Reply
  101. Bases with humans on Moon/Mars
    But in case of Pluto outpost/observatory, in early stages, I was thinking about some kind of robotic, highly automated outpost run by humanoid and other types of avatars controlled from Earth, Moon or even Mars with next level AR/VR/telepresence technology. We can also use this tech on Moon and Mars. We do not need people there in early stages. Too risky and costly

    I think that telepresence will help us a lot, work will be much slower and there will be lag but still we
    can send hundreds, even thousands of such robots and such large robot workforce(each controlled by human) can achieve a lot and be quite productive, cost of mass manufacturing and sending them in BFR will be lower than sending few humans.

    Knowing Elon, I am quite confident that as soon af BFR will prove itself and start earning some decent $ for SpaceX, they will start working on more ambitious vehicles, including huge nuclear starships

    Reply
  102. BFR could also be used to launch in any direction enter low orbit, drop an payload like an rods of god.
    Or perhaps an single large one, an 75 ton long rod penetration at orbital speed would be able to take out pretty hard targets, this deorbits.
    BFS continue its orbit and land

    Reply
  103. BFR launches in safe home turf. BFS lands very fast I presume dropping down from orbit would be. Not an easy target in most situations.

    Reply
  104. BFR launches in safe home turf. BFS lands very fast I presume dropping down from orbit would be. Not an easy target in most situations.

    Reply
  105. I call it arriving in style. Then the door opens and marines in full exoskeleton gear come out to finish off whoever is still not fully cooked. LOL.

    Reply
  106. I call it arriving in style. Then the door opens and marines in full exoskeleton gear come out to finish off whoever is still not fully cooked. LOL.

    Reply
  107. pre-positioning equipment and supplies in orbit” which would ready to be dropped to Earth.”” LOL. Supplies like “”””rods of god”””””””

    Reply
  108. Impossible. You can dream about sending humans to Mars in a tin can because it would be a 3-6 month trip as per SpaceX’s projections. With supplies already sent and waiting in place.

    Gee, there have been plans for a BFS to Jupiter and Saturn, taking between 2-3 years each way. And that already stretches the believability of the scheme for sending human beings, concerning radiation exposure, supplies and overall risk.

    A manned trip to Pluto, even if technically possible with orbital refueling, would take the better part of a decade. That’s humanly impossible.

    For dreaming about that, humanity needs to develop nuclear rockets, preferably fusion ones that could do the trip in a couple years tops, with all the required supplies and artificial gravity. That’s “The Expanse” level of technology.

    Reply
  109. Yep, that one and ROMBUS were clearly meant to allow point to point transport of gear and people (over a thousand or so troops) here on Earth, as an alternative to overseas bases. ROMBUS and its derivative Ithacus were massive, designed for taking 450 tons or so to LEO or an equivalent payload across continents.

    ROMBUS was sold more as a reusable near-SSTO (it dropped some tanks along the way) for space use and travel, while Ithacus was always presented as point to point troop carrier.

    With BFR, these cold war dreams/nightmares could be revived, and become the first actual usage of point to point rocket transportation.

    Reply
  110. It doesn’t matter when they stopped making them. The guy was making an estimate, probably off the cuff, that the point-to-point cost for a BFS to move 150 tons would be “less than a C5”. Meaning that *at the most* it would be $270 million, which is the unit production cost of each aircraft in today’s dollars, after adjustment for inflation. Or $180 million in 98. Or even less in the 80’s. https://www.globalaircraft.org/planes/c-5_galaxy.pl

    Reply
  111. It doesn’t matter when they stopped making them. The guy was making an estimate probably off the cuff that the point-to-point cost for a BFS to move 150 tons would be less than a C5″”. Meaning that *at the most* it would be $270 million”” which is the unit production cost of each aircraft in today’s dollars”” after adjustment for inflation.Or $180 million in 98. Or even less in the 80’s. https://www.globalaircraft.org/planes/c-5_galaxy.pl“””

    Reply
  112. That is what I was saying, thanks. When the production of the thing was halted is completely out in left field since we have an approximation for the cost. And the assumption that it’s going to be all that much cheaper to send X Tons to the other side of the planet is probably not entirely accurate.
    How that is going to stack up vs the BFR is an entirely different story. since we have no idea how much it will cost to refurbish.

    Reply
  113. Maybe the expense of protecting liquid fuels could be reduced by taking the Kilopower reactor design & modifying it so it uses low enriched uranium. My understanding is that the design for spacecraft uses uranium so highly enriched that it is usable for a nuclear bomb. Guarding lots of bomb grade uranium would be a security nightmare in a war zone.

    Reply
  114. I hate to say it, but this is where I was heading since quite some time ago. The main application for the BFR will NOT be going to Mars (whether it happens or not is not relevant) Nor will be asteroid mining In the short term at least, being able to move people from one placec to another on Earth at a relatively small budget and within one hour will be the killer applicaation of SpaceX Goat Guy said that tickets will be in the million dollars range, but I bet he is deep wrong One way 30000 USd is my estimate Luca Mazza (R)

    Reply
  115. I hate to say it but this is where I was heading since quite some time ago.The main application for the BFR will NOT be going to Mars (whether it happens or not is not relevant)Nor will be asteroid mining In the short term at least being able to move people from one placec to another on Earth at a relatively small budget and within one hour will be the killer applicaation of SpaceX Goat Guy said that tickets will be in the million dollars range but I bet he is deep wrong One way 30000 USd is my estimate Luca Mazza (R)

    Reply
  116. It is when I read comments like this from frustrated psychos like this guy William here is when I think Iran should get nukes. And soon.

    Reply
  117. It is when I read comments like this from frustrated psychos like this guy William here is when I think Iran should get nukes. And soon.

    Reply
  118. From wikipedia /wiki/Speed_skydiving , “Stable freefall head down position has a terminal speed of 240-290 km/h (around 150-180 mph). Further minimization of drag by streamlining the body allows for speeds in the vicinity of 480 km/h (300 mph).” That’s about half the speed of sound at sea level.

    So for a Star-Trek-like orbital jump, I imagine you’d need a somewhat rigid jump suit with an oxygen supply, inside a personal drop pod that can survive reentry without cooking the jumper. After reentry the pod would deploy a small drogue chute, fins, or some other structure to slow down to terminal velocity, then fall off. At that point, the suit would take over, and you’ll proceed as with normal HALO.

    Reply
  119. I’m dying to see how you get a BFS to do evasive maneuvers during terminal guidance. And it’s not exactly a hardened target. A single bullet through a thrust chamber should almost do the trick. and if not, seven bullets through seven thrust chambers sounds pretty straightforward.

    Reply
  120. I’m dying to see how you get a BFS to do evasive maneuvers during terminal guidance. And it’s not exactly a hardened target. A single bullet through a thrust chamber should almost do the trick. and if not seven bullets through seven thrust chambers sounds pretty straightforward.

    Reply
  121. Considering the C5 is built under government contract, and operated by the AF using parts sold by fat cat government contractors, SpaceX may eventually be able to undercut the cost of a 12,000 mile flight.

    Reply
  122. Considering the C5 is built under government contract and operated by the AF using parts sold by fat cat government contractors SpaceX may eventually be able to undercut the cost of a 12000 mile flight.

    Reply
  123. I can’t believe I didn’t see it. The Army, and Marines will use BFR for ultra-rapid deployment. Suborbital flight anywhere on the planet, and it doesn’t even need a runway! Do final braking with as many engines as possible, and it clears hostiles off the LZ!!!! The rocket wash would knock down nearby buildings, and any nearby vehicle short of a battle tank.

    Reply
  124. I can’t believe I didn’t see it. The Army and Marines will use BFR for ultra-rapid deployment. Suborbital flight anywhere on the planet and it doesn’t even need a runway! Do final braking with as many engines as possible and it clears hostiles off the LZ!!!! The rocket wash would knock down nearby buildings and any nearby vehicle short of a battle tank.

    Reply
  125. I’ll bet you the military will buy their own version, optimized for suborbital flight. Then SpaceX can use most of the development work for a commercial version.

    Reply
  126. I’ll bet you the military will buy their own version optimized for suborbital flight. Then SpaceX can use most of the development work for a commercial version.

    Reply
  127. This was studied as far back as 1966 at McDonnell Douglas, as the “Ithacus” project, when they were hoping that aerospike engines would bring the next step in rocket performance. Look for it at astronautix.com

    Reply
  128. 2 reasons: First, he probably doesn’t want to sell his soul to the devil completely, and second, the government is inept and likes giving contracts to Boeing and Lockheed.

    Reply
  129. Unfortunately, given transit times, we won’t be seeing any humans out to Pluto or the ice giants until probably the 2030s at the earliest. And you would either need a truly massive ship to keep people fed for several years, or advanced nuclear propulsion, or cryostasis. None of these options get done in the 2020s.

    Reply
  130. I’m not sure if there’s a phase of re-entry where the craft is going slow enough to allow for actual jumping. I think it stays supersonic until relatively close to the ground. But Michael’s suggestion of a drop pod with parachutes could definitely work.

    Reply
  131. It’s a question of how versatile the landing options are, or alternatively as you say, if they can deploy a drop pod on the way down. In my estimation, if it gives them the ability to perform a raid of a similar type to the 2011 Bin Laden raid, then it is worth it, because the alternative is helicopters and probably a total time taken, getting Seal Team Six from home base to the operational zone of probably something like 24 hours.

    So, in my mind, if they can get close enough to the target that they can perform the operation within a few short hours, as opposed to a day, that’s worth it.

    Of course, this also assumes that you don’t care as much about exfil, obviously. But some situations don’t require exfil. For example, your typical Tom Clancy-esque ‘rogue general has a nuke’ scenario. In that situation, you don’t particularly care if your Seals have a way out; you mainly just want the rogue actors taken care of ASAP.

    So that’s my 2c.

    Reply
  132. ” A space rocket, not so much, regardless of what ignorant believers….. believe ” <-- That is what you moronically insist will remain true forever, evidently. Even though the F9b5s will see at least 10 flights without refurb.

    Reply
  133. So C-5’s cost about $260 million. So it is certainly less than that. Probably in the tens of millions. Then there is this: https://www.businessinsider.com/air-force-plane-cost-per-flight-hour-chart-2016-3 So they have a range of 6,000 nm. To go to the other side of the planet[12,000nm] they’d need to make at least one refueling. Then repeat to get back to where you were going. Round trip of 24,000nm. Cruising speed is about 570nm/hr. So it would take 42 hours to make that round trip. They have a max cargo capacity of about 75 tons[half what the BFR *should* eventually be offering(or at least what this guy is quoting from what SpaceX told him)]. So you’d need to make that 42 hour trip twice to get the same amount of cargo. For a total of 84 hours of flight operations. At $100,000/hr, that is $8.4 million dollars for those two trips and at 1/168th the speed. Obviously refueling would add to this[either stopping at a base or getting another plane up to do it mid-air]. We have no idea how much the “less than” amount is, but obviously hauling that much equipment across the globe isn’t cheap to begin with. If SpaceX can just provide the service, without having to pay the upkeep, I can see where they are getting at this[possibly] being useful. All theoretical, of course. But being able to drop 150 tons of men and equipment anywhere on the planet has its uses if needed really quickly.

    Reply
  134. So C-5’s cost about $260 million. So it is certainly less than that. Probably in the tens of millions.Then there is this:https://www.businessinsider.com/air-force-plane-cost-per-flight-hour-chart-2016-3So they have a range of 6000 nm. To go to the other side of the planet[12000nm] they’d need to make at least one refueling. Then repeat to get back to where you were going. Round trip of 24000nm. Cruising speed is about 570nm/hr. So it would take 42 hours to make that round trip. They have a max cargo capacity of about 75 tons[half what the BFR *should* eventually be offering(or at least what this guy is quoting from what SpaceX told him)].So you’d need to make that 42 hour trip twice to get the same amount of cargo. For a total of 84 hours of flight operations. At $100000/hr that is $8.4 million dollars for those two trips and at 1/168th the speed. Obviously refueling would add to this[either stopping at a base or getting another plane up to do it mid-air]. We have no idea how much the less than”” amount is”” but obviously hauling that much equipment across the globe isn’t cheap to begin with. If SpaceX can just provide the service without having to pay the upkeep I can see where they are getting at this[possibly] being useful.All theoretical”” of course. But being able to drop 150 tons of men and equipment anywhere on the planet has its uses if needed really quickly.”””

    Reply
  135. You got it half right. The BFR won’t be the highly vulnerable target, it will be the big fuel depot they need to refuel the rocket for the next flight.

    But then again that’s where almost all troop losses are these days, simply protecting liquid fuels.

    Reply
  136. Yes and no, nothing like that much:

    “In January 2016, SpaceX did agree with the US Air Force to take US$33.6 million in defense department funding in order to develop a particular Raptor model”

    SpaceX committed to 2:1 funding, ie, they provided $2 for every $1 DOD

    Reply
  137. Strikes me that the BFR is a fairly vulnerable target. So SpaceX had better have a good compensation plan in place for damaged rockets, if they’re going to be used to drop cargo into active war zones.

    Reply
  138. Strikes me that the BFR is a fairly vulnerable target. So SpaceX had better have a good compensation plan in place for damaged rockets if they’re going to be used to drop cargo into active war zones.

    Reply
  139. First thought: “well, anywhere to Earth in under an hour…that has a landing pad.” But then I remembered BFR was designed to land on Mars. Albeit that’s 0.38-G, but also much thinner atmosphere… I suppose if it’s relatively flat, even on Earth it seems plausible. 150 MT is quite a bit of hardware, too.

    Reply
  140. First thought: well” anywhere to Earth in under an hour…that has a landing pad.””But then I remembered BFR was designed to land on Mars. Albeit that’s 0.38-G”” but also much thinner atmosphere… I suppose if it’s relatively flat even on Earth it seems plausible. 150 MT is quite a bit of hardware”” too.”””

    Reply
  141. Killer app for BFR and it will give Elon enough money to pursue more ambitious goals like Mars/Moon activity, asteroid mining, building large fleet of BFR, maybe even Pluto outpost in near future (mid to late 20’s)

    Reply
  142. I think he is comparing cost of use for both. There is fuel for the aircraft, maintenance, wear and tear on the engines, tires, and other components, the flight pay of the pilots, loading and unloading. If there is an inflight refueling, that fuel is very expensive because of the aircraft to get it there, and wear and tear on that aircraft. And that fuel may have gone halfway around the world already to get to the base the tanker flew from. And it takes a lot of people working together to get the load there. Then there is the fact that an airport may not really be where you want the stuff. So, you will have to load it on trucks to get it where you really want it, while the rocket could make the delivery just about anywhere including landing on an aircraft carrier.

    I think it might be good for emergency stuff to Antarctica in winter. They currently can’t land there in winter. It is just too dangerous, but a rocket may be able to. And it is all automated so there is no pilot’s life to be endangered in the delivery.

    Reply
  143. It doesn’t matter when they stopped making them. The guy was making an estimate, probably off the cuff, that the point-to-point cost for a BFS to move 150 tons would be “less than a C5”. Meaning that *at the most* it would be $270 million, which is the unit production cost of each aircraft in today’s dollars, after adjustment for inflation.
    Or $180 million in 98. Or even less in the 80’s.
    https://www.globalaircraft.org/planes/c-5_galaxy.pl

    Reply
  144. I hate to say it, but this is where I was heading since quite some time ago.
    The main application for the BFR will NOT be going to Mars (whether it happens or not is not relevant)
    Nor will be asteroid mining
    In the short term at least, being able to move people from one placec to another on Earth at a relatively
    small budget and within one hour will be the killer applicaation of SpaceX
    Goat Guy said that tickets will be in the million dollars range, but I bet he is deep wrong
    One way 30000 USd is my estimate

    Luca Mazza (R)

    Reply
  145. I’m dying to see how you get a BFS to do evasive maneuvers during terminal guidance. And it’s not exactly a hardened target. A single bullet through a thrust chamber should almost do the trick. and if not, seven bullets through seven thrust chambers sounds pretty straightforward.

    Reply
  146. Considering the C5 is built under government contract, and operated by the AF using parts sold by fat cat government contractors, SpaceX may eventually be able to undercut the cost of a 12,000 mile flight.

    Reply
  147. I can’t believe I didn’t see it. The Army, and Marines will use BFR for ultra-rapid deployment. Suborbital flight anywhere on the planet, and it doesn’t even need a runway! Do final braking with as many engines as possible, and it clears hostiles off the LZ!!!! The rocket wash would knock down nearby buildings, and any nearby vehicle short of a battle tank.

    Reply
  148. So C-5’s cost about $260 million. So it is certainly less than that. Probably in the tens of millions.
    Then there is this:
    https://www.businessinsider.com/air-force-plane-cost-per-flight-hour-chart-2016-3
    So they have a range of 6,000 nm. To go to the other side of the planet[12,000nm] they’d need to make at least one refueling. Then repeat to get back to where you were going. Round trip of 24,000nm.
    Cruising speed is about 570nm/hr. So it would take 42 hours to make that round trip.
    They have a max cargo capacity of about 75 tons[half what the BFR *should* eventually be offering(or at least what this guy is quoting from what SpaceX told him)].
    So you’d need to make that 42 hour trip twice to get the same amount of cargo. For a total of 84 hours of flight operations. At $100,000/hr, that is $8.4 million dollars for those two trips and at 1/168th the speed. Obviously refueling would add to this[either stopping at a base or getting another plane up to do it mid-air]. We have no idea how much the “less than” amount is, but obviously hauling that much equipment across the globe isn’t cheap to begin with. If SpaceX can just provide the service, without having to pay the upkeep, I can see where they are getting at this[possibly] being useful.
    All theoretical, of course. But being able to drop 150 tons of men and equipment anywhere on the planet has its uses if needed really quickly.

    Reply
  149. Strikes me that the BFR is a fairly vulnerable target. So SpaceX had better have a good compensation plan in place for damaged rockets, if they’re going to be used to drop cargo into active war zones.

    Reply
  150. First thought: “well, anywhere to Earth in under an hour…that has a landing pad.”

    But then I remembered BFR was designed to land on Mars. Albeit that’s 0.38-G, but also much thinner atmosphere… I suppose if it’s relatively flat, even on Earth it seems plausible. 150 MT is quite a bit of hardware, too.

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