Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Elon Musk shows off a new tooling for the BFR spaceship

Yes, BFR actually means what you think it means, SpaceX PR notwithstanding.
Elon is odd like that.
The original designations of the Tesla models were going to be "S", "E" and "X" but thinking that was a little too on-the-nose he went with S3X.

The writer of this piece, Eric Berger, was the Houston Chronicles's SciGuy for ages and had impressive insight into matters affecting the Gulf Coast, oil, natural gas, hurricanes, the chemical biz, NASA, space etc. etc.
We like Eric.
From Ars Technica:

"Hop" tests of the rocket's spaceship could begin later this year, or in 2019.

 "SpaceX main body tool for the BFR interplanetary spaceship."
Elon Musk has been talking about SpaceX's large BFR rocket for a few years, but so far we've seen precious little hardware. In 2016, Musk showed off a large, composite fuel tank that will contain pressurized liquid oxygen. The company has also shared limited video of the rocket's Raptor engines.

Now, as SpaceX moves forward with a facility to manufacture the rocket in Long Beach, Calif., we probably will see more hardware associated with the BFR—known as the Big Falcon Rocket in polite circles. To that end, on Sunday night, Musk shared a photo of a tooling that will be used to make carbon-fiber composites for the rocket's upper stage, the spaceship. This appears to be a mandrel, or mold, around which carbon fiber is wound for the main body of the spaceship, or BFS.

Carbon fibers, which are generally woven into a fabric, possess desirable qualities such as high tensile strength, low mass, high temperature tolerance, and low thermal expansion. Using carbon-fiber composites instead of aluminum to manufacture tanks for a rocket booster allows a manufacturer to save tons of mass, and in a rocket as large as the BFR, that will translate into many fewer tons....MORE