SpaceX readies ‘BFR’ factory

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Elon Musk’s plan to launch his ‘Big F***ing Rocket” to terrestrial cities – and eventually to Mars is taking shape.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has confirmed that SpaceX is taking a lease at a 19-acre dock-side factory located at Berth 240 within the Port of Los Angeles. Mayor Garcetti toned down his reference to the BFR and simply referred to it as the Big Falcon Rocket, which seemed reasonable. SpaceX is paying $1.38 million (€1.13m) per annum for the site.

The Los Angeles Board of Harbor Commissioners approved the lease last week, although the project still has a three to five-year time frame for construction and flight testing.

It is also not yet known whether Musk will go for the rapid inter-city version, getting to almost any portion of the planet within about 45 minutes, or focus on the Mars mission.

The new rocket, whatever it is called, will come in two reusable portions. A booster stage, powered by 31 methane-fuelled Raptor engines will produce nearly 12 million pounds of thrust and be capable of returning to Earth for propulsive vertical landings as with SpaceX’s existing Falcon rocket family. An upper stage that can also double as the Mars transporter will carry people, supplies, satellites, and huge propellant tanks that can be refilled in space.

The waterfront facility is needed so that components can be shipped in. The rocket’s dimensions are too big for road transport.

SpaceX’s Hawthorne HQ is some 15 miles north of the LA port.


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