SpaceX will be launching globally recognized Yusaku Maezawa around the moon with 8 artists on BFR
Tonight SpaceX announced new information regarding the updated BFR rocket and who their first paying customer is! His name is Yusaku Maezawa and is a world known artist curator from Japan and will be choosing 8 artists of his choice to fly with him. He's already put down a downpayment for the flight that is set to occur in 2023 and has purchased the entire BFR for the flight, so the 8 artists will be flying for free. The project is called #dearMoon, and more can be read about it here: https://dearmoon.earth
There were many new things to be addressed on this new version of SpaceX's BFR rocket. For starters, the rocket will stand 118m (387.14ft) tall and 9m in diameter and can carry 100t to LEO with full reuse of the Booster and the Spaceship.
The BFS now features 2 forward and 2 rear actuated fins to
help with controlling the ship through the atmosphere and orientating it for reentry. The BFS itself is 55m (184.45ft) long and has roughly 1,000m cubed of pressurized volume and can fit 100 people. At the back of BFS, there is a version where cargo containers are available on the aft portion of the ship in a ring around the 7 surface optimized engines. These cargo containers can be replaced with vacuum optimized engines (2 containers = 1 vacuum engine). The BFS will begin "short hops" at SpaceX's new Boca Chica launch facility in Texas that has been under construction for awhile. These hops will begin next year and high altitude/high velocity tests of the BFS will begin in 2020.
SpaceX is planning to have the first orbital test flight of BFR in roughly 2-3 years from now, if everything goes perfect. They will be having a few test launches of the whole system before doing the crewed Moon flyby and possibly considering a test Lunar flyby before the mission. The mission with the 9 crew members around the Moon will last about 4-5 days before returning and landing back on Earth.
BFR construction has also been progressing with having the
main cylinder of the booster finished and the domes and engine segment will be completed shortly.
The Raptor engine also is progressing very well with achieving an Specific Impulse (engine efficiency) of 380.