Last-minute travelers who always get stuck with a middle seat: Rejoice! Elon Musk, the CEO of SpaceX and Tesla, unveiled plans for a giant rocket called the “BFR” — which stands for “big fucking rocket” — that promises to take you anywhere on Earth in an hour or less for the same price as a normal plane ticket. So, even the worst seat in the house would be blissfully short-lived.
The BFR’s promotional video is pretty amazing. It shows a ferry zooming away from the coast of Manhattan to a platform in the middle of the Hudson River, where a bunch of passengers use an elevated bridge to board the rocket. The rocket then launches off into orbit, leaving a massive cloud of smoke in its wake — but instead of continuing off into space, the BFR simply arcs around the Earth and returns down to the surface, in Shanghai, a mere 39 minutes later.
The video then presents a number of other mind-blowing flight times the BFR could theoretically be able to complete once it makes its way from the drawing board into real life: Los Angeles to Toronto? 24 minutes. New York to Paris? 30 minutes. Los Angeles to London? 32 minutes. The list goes on.
The BFR won’t be limited to what Musk calls “point to point” travel on Earth: Eventually, the BFR will replace the other rockets in SpaceX’s fleet, according to Vice. In 2022, Musk plans to use a BFR to send cargo to Mars in preparation for the first human trip to Mars just two years later, in 2024.
Of course, there are a number of significant hurdles Musk will have to overcome in order to make his BFD — that’s “big fucking dream” — a reality.
To pay for the BFR, Musk said he’ll be funneling over the money SpaceX generates from servicing the International Space Station. There are likely to be a number of regulatory hurdles SpaceX will have to deal with, as well. We have a whole system in place for dealing with plane-related air traffic — but rockets? That’s a whole different ballgame. And then, of course, there’s that problem with SpaceX’s Falcon rockets exploding. A lot.
But, hey, no piece of new technology is perfect. And, when you really break it down, exploding mid-air is a small risk to take if it means we never have to take another 12-hour flight in coach again.