Beam Me up, Elon
Until yesterday, SpaceX’s futuristic and extremely ambitious rocket — which it says could carry 100 passengers to Mars — was called the Big Falcon Rocket.
But on Monday, Elon Musk announced on Twitter that its name was changing to “Starship.” That marks the fourth name change since SpaceX announced the craft more than five years ago.
Before mid-2016, it was referred to as the “Mars Colonial Transporter.” In mid-2016, it turned into the “Interplanetary Transport System.” In September 2017 it was dubbed the “BFR,” for Big Falcon Rocket — though its codename reportedly contained a certain expletive in place of “falcon.”
Renaming BFR to Starship
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 20, 2018
In a follow-up tweet, Musk points out that the “Starship” itself is the “spaceship/upper stage” while the gigantic rocket booster required to leave Earth’s gravitational pull will be called “Super Heavy.”
The latter is likely a reference to the SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy booster, currently the rocket with the highest payload capacity of any rocket in operation.
The news comes after Elon tweeted that the BFR’s new design will be “delightfully counter-intuitive.” We have yet to see what that meant.
Elon also announced that SpaceX scrapped plans for a “mini-BFR” that would upgrade an existing Falcon 9 rocket to test the BFR’s lightweight heatshield and control surfaces capable of hypersonic flight.
For now, we’ll have to wait to see if all of this amounts to a rocket capable of taking passengers around the Moon any time soon.
READ MORE: Elon Musk renames his BFR spacecraft Starship [BBC]