Elon Musk Wants to Use Rockets to Fly Between Cities in Minutes

Oh, and he also wants to start sending people to Mars by 2024.

byStephen Edelstein|
Elon Musk Wants to Use Rockets to Fly Between Cities in Minutes

Elon Musk has a new transportation idea that will make the Hyperloop and The Boring Company seem mundane. The Tesla and SpaceX CEO wants people to travel from city to city by rocket, enabling them to zip across continents in less time than it takes to watch a sitcom.

At the International Astronautical Conference in Adelaide, Australia, Musk proposed using rockets to make international travel more convenient. He showed a SpaceX-produced video claiming that a rocket trip from New York to London would take just 29 minutes. Musk also said that SpaceX plans to begin sending people to Mars in 2024, according to the BBC.

Both international and interplanetary rocket travel will be made possible by a new SpaceX rocket design, Musk said. Called the BFR (which stands for...well, Duke Nukem fans can probably guess), it will be more affordable than previous designs, according to Musk. Part of that cost savings will be achieved by making the BFR totally reusable. Most current rockets are only used once, although SpaceX is now working to reuse its Falcon 9 rockets.

Musk said SpaceX will devote all of its resources to the BFR, but it will keep a supply of its Falcon 9 rockets and Dragon capsules around for customers who aren't comfortable with switching to the BFR right away. Some customers are very conservative, Musk said, and may not want to put their payloads into a brand-new rocket design, especially one that is designed to be reused multiple times.

The BFR will allow for what Musk called "point-to-point" flights between Earth cities, and possibly flights to the Moon, but the ultimate goal is Mars. Musk is aiming to launch a cargo flight with no humans onboard by 2022—a target even he admitted was ambitious.

"That's not a typo, but it is aspirational," Musk said, according to the BBC. SpaceX and Tesla have achieved improbably success on Earth, but sending rockets to another planet is on a whole different level of difficulty.