Elon Musk’s Global Spaceship Is Impressive, But Unrealistic


Adryan Barlia, Deputy Opinion Editor

From electric cars and underground roadway systems to the colonization of Mars, Elon Musk has set his mind to the most ambitious and exciting ideas of the modern age. His newest venture may be the most daring yet — international travel space ships. Last Friday, the SpaceX CEO announced new plans for a smaller, more practical modeled spaceship that would be used for global travel. Using this new form of transportation, trips from city to city would take less than 30 minutes and traveling around the world would be possible in less than an hour. The news came as Musk gave a more detailed report at this year’s International Astronautical Congress in Adelaide, Austria. At the conference, Musk elaborated on his improved Falcon 9 spaceship, which would be suitable for Mars travel, and his idea for a smaller model created for commuters. Although this idea would introduce a revolutionary mode of transportation, it would make an already small world feel smaller and will realistically never come to be.

A video for the spaceship, dubbed Big F-cking Rocket, has already been released, demonstrating its capabilities. The rocket, similar to Falcon 9 models, will be a reusable vehicle that would launch passengers into orbit, with the launching part of the rocket safely returning to a dock on Earth. This would ultimately cut costs for a project already appearing unfundable, which Musk used to appeal to investors. Yet, like many of Musk’s other projects, we have to doubt whether this spaceship will actually come to fruition. Is Musk’s vision for the future too ambitious?

Musk makes promises for the future that we would all wish to be true, but looking at his track record, his arsenal of ideas often remain just that — ideas. To date, the most notable successes of his have been Paypal and Tesla. He regularly announces big projects such as underground traveling tunnels and newer lithium car models without fully having the means of finishing the projects. Despite Musk’s wealth as a result of his numerous companies, it would take a ridiculous amount of money to fund his futuristic projects. That being said, the mere idea of an international spaceship that would be able to take anyone who can afford to ride is in itself an idea that probably will not materialize in our lifetimes.

Of all the things that have been released by Musk, the possibility of having spaceship travel become a mainstream transportation option comes fairly close to his idea of putting man on Mars. If Musk can execute this idea, it could really change the world. However, for now, we should just assume that Musk is shooting for the stars and will land on Earth.

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A version of this appeared in the Monday, Oct. 2 print edition. Email Adryan Barlia at [email protected].