SpaceX CEO Elon Musk teases BFR update with new rocket launch renders

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The BFR could be conducting its first orbital flights in about two to three years, he said.

Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa speaks at a press event in California to announce his solo rocket trip.

SpaceX's CEO is clearly chomping at the bit to reveal more information about the company's newest BFR iteration, hopefully now closing in on something close to what will actually enter production and begin flight testing.

The BFR is essentially a 48m long spaceship attached to the top of a reusable 36m rocket booster. However, Musk said that rocket would not be certified to carry people, which ruled out a round-the-moon trip on a Falcon Heavy.

Elon Musk attempted to write the next chapter in his quest to open up space to the masses by announcing the first paying tourist that his company, SpaceX, would fly on a trip around the moon.

Elon Musk's SpaceX has been talking up its plans to shoot tourists around the moon since early 2017. The launch is scheduled to happen in 2023.

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He is expected to lift-off on the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR), a launch system unveiled by Mr Musk in 2016.

With SpaceX, Amazon.com founder Jeff Bezos' Blue Origin and entrepreneur Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic battling it out to launch private-sector spacecraft, Maezawa will join a growing list of celebrities and the ultra-rich who have secured seats on flights offered on the under-development vessels.

Like SpaceX's existing rockets, the Falcon 9 and Falcon Heavy, the first stage can detach from the rest of the rocket and return to Earth for an upright landing. It has disrupted the launch market, winning not just billions in NASA contracts but also contracts from the Pentagon.

Those comments add additional color to the updated narrative gradually trickling out of SpaceX as the company pushes towards a finalized "flight design" for the Mars-bound launch vehicle and spaceship, a critical step that must precede integrated design reviews and flight tests.

For his part, he has admitted that much of what he hopes to achieve in space is aspirational.

It's not the first time the company has made this kind of announcement. To make it seem like it's something we can do in our lifetimes.

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