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Big Falcon Namechange for Musk's rocket: BFR becomes Starship
♪We built this rocket on debt and bull*♪
Elon Musk took to Twitter last night to announce the Big Falcon Rocket (BFR) will henceforth have the considerably more ambitious moniker Starship.
We at The Register can only hope this is in reference to the '80s band, famed for such classics as "We Built This City" and 1987's "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now". Mainly because the launcher formerly known as BFR is unlikely to be troubling the stars any time soon, being aimed squarely at the Moon and Mars.
Technically, two parts: Starship is the spaceship/upper stage & Super Heavy is the rocket booster needed to escape Earth’s deep gravity well (not needed for other planets or moons)— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) November 20, 2018
Musk elaborated that the BFR would consist of "Super Heavy", a booster needed to actually get off the Earth and an upper stage called "Starship", which is the bit that would then depart low Earth orbit.
To be fair to Musk, he isn't alone in selecting names with delusions of grandeur. Boeing has named its commercial crew capsule "Starliner", despite the fact that it is unlikely to stray beyond LEO. Presumably this is because "overpriced taxi to the International Space Station" is a bit of a mouthful.
The clock is ticking toward the "2023 at the latest" launch of the rocket formerly known as BFR to take Japanese moneybags Yusaku Maezawa on a jaunt around the Moon. The stack will be capable of lofting over 100 tonnes into low Earth orbit. At 118m tall, it will be a shade taller than NASA's Saturn V and, according to SpaceX, fully reusable.
The BFR has gone through several identity changes over the years, being referred to as the Mars Colonial Transporter (MCT), the Interplanetary Transport System (ITS) and the Big, er, Falcon Rocket (BFR) before the latest, even more glamorous title.
As Starship themselves observed: "Who cares they're always changing, corporation names."
El Reg is now looking forward to the predecessor to Starship, the Falcon 9, being renamed the "Jefferson Airplane".
We contacted the band, due to appear at Sahuarita's Desert Diamond Casino in Arizona on 30 November, for their thoughts on the matter. We will update the story with any response. ®
* ♪We built this rocket on debt and bull♪