Elon Musk believes humans should be able to travel anywhere on Earth in under an hour, and for that trip to cost roughly the same as an economy airline ticket. That’s Musk’s latest idea for another use of the technology SpaceX is developing for off-world missions.
SpaceX is developing a super-heavy launch vehicle, which Elon Musk refers to as BFR. That’s the short version of “Big F***ing Rocket” or “Big Falcon Rocket” depending on who you are talking to. As The Verge reports, while sharing SpaceX’s revised plans for Moonand Mars travel missions, Musk pointed to BFR as also being useful for travel on Earth.
As the video above suggests, passengers would board a spaceship powered by BFR and launch into orbit around the Earth. By using this method of transportation it would be possible to travel anywhere on Earth in under an hour. The journey would be considerably shorter than that depending on your destination. For example, London to New York would take just 22 minutes, and all for the cost of an economy airline ticket. Passenger numbers per trip is unknown, but thought to be no more than 200.
Musk hopes to begin construction on the rocket required for such transportation within six months. The spaceship is just an idea on paper at the moment. Knowing Musk though, it won’t stay that way for very long.
Another thing to consider is what an idea like this does to the other companies working within the aviation sector. Musk has a track record of doing what he says, which is why we have Tesla electric cars, commercial-scale battery storage, a range of solar power solutions, and SpaceX doing transport missions to and from ISS. If he’s now thinking of revolutionizing air transport on Earth, the likes of Boeing and Airbus will need to react, which ultimately means fast, Earth orbit flights are more likely to happen. Also, Virgin Galactic also just got a big wake-up call.