Fly to Oz in an hour

Bil­lion­aire’s rocket could mean day trips to Aus­tralia

Irish Daily Mail - - News - By Kather­ine Rush­ton news@dai­ly­

PAS­SEN­GERS will soon be able to travel any­where in the world in un­der an hour – in a rocket that is also ca­pa­ble of reach­ing Mars, ac­cord­ing to tech­nol­ogy bil­lion­aire Elon Musk.

The en­tre­pre­neur even plans to put the first astro­nauts on the Red Planet in just seven years. Mr Musk said the 29,000kph space­craft – co­de­named ‘BFR’, or ‘Big ******* Rocket’ – would make it fea­si­ble to pop to Aus­tralia for the day.

‘If we’re build­ing this thing to go to the Moon and Mars, then why not go to other places on Earth as well?’ he said.

The craft will be able to fly be­tween most ma­jor world cities in un­der three min­utes and take less than an hour even for long-haul trips, such as Dublin to Syd­ney.

It would carry up to 100 pas­sen­gers out of the Earth’s at­mos­phere, so that they could fly with­out any air re­sis­tance.

From Dublin, it would take just 29 min­utes to fly to New York or Dubai and 34 min­utes to Hong Kong or to Cape Town. A trip from Bangkok to Dubai would take 27 min­utes, while Tokyo to Delhi would take 30 min­utes.

Mr Musk, the founder of PayPal and Tesla, said the in­ter­con­ti­nen­tal rocket jour­neys would cost ‘about the same as full-fare econ­omy in an air­craft’.

‘Once you are out of the at­mos­phere, it would be as smooth as silk, no tur­bu­lence, noth­ing,’ he told a space con­fer­ence in Aus­tralia.

How­ever, he hopes that his earthly travel plans will soon be over­shad­owed by his Space X project to colonise Mars. He said: ‘I feel fairly con­fi­dent that we can com­plete the ship and launch in about five years.’

Space X will start build­ing the rocket by next sum­mer and the plan is to send two ships to Mars by 2022, Mr Musk said. They would set up in­fra­struc­ture on the planet to sup­port fu­ture mis­sions. Four rock­ets, two of them manned, would then fol­low in 2024.

Mean­while, US aero­space gi­ant Lock­heed Martin has an­nounced sep­a­rate plans for a manned 2030s Mars jour­ney in a joint ex­pe­di­tion with NASA.

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