Elon Musk, head of SpaceX, said in a Tweet that “SpaceX is no longer planning to upgrade Falcon 9 second stage for reusability”. Instead, he said SpaceX would be focusing on accelerating the design and build of the significantly larger ‘BFR’ (Big Falcon Rocket) which was “very exciting” and “delightfully counter intuitive”.
Falcon 9 will only go through “minor tweaks to improve on reliability only, provided NASA & USAF are supportive,” Musk said when responding to a question from a Twitter user.
SpaceX’s ‘BFR’ is a rocket which could carry multiple satellites, and also passengers on intercontinental journeys around the planet in less than an hour. The BFR is also a key part of Musk’s overall plan to get to Mars and Musk says it will carry up to 100 tonnes of payload to Mars.
On September 17th SpaceX announced that Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa would be the first private passenger to ride around the moon on one of its BFR rockets in 2023.
The first test flight of a BFR is currently scheduled for 2020. The BFR’s current design is for a truly massive rocket, standing about 118m (387 ft) high.