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In the video, Musk states that SpaceX believes BFR will match the safety of commercial airliners due to its multi-engine propulsive landing capability.

Yes, totally, I get that they have a plan to make it safer -- my point is that a 20,000x increase in saftey is a massive leap, and that will be the limiting factor for this technology.

Oh, right. I don't disagree with your sentiment, I was just adding information for HNers who didn't actually watch the video.

Consistently, my colleagues have made remarks along the lines of "I'll take the 1,000th flight after I know it's safe enough". I grew up with cars and airliners so I'm not sure what the process of convincing the public of BFR's safety will actually look like or how long it will take. For all I know, they'll give out the first 100 rides for free or at huge discounts, making all of these thoughts moot.


Well, your comparison isn't too fair. It seems like you're using the loss rates for modern aircraft capabilities. This is roughly like comparing the crash rates of modern OS's to early Unix.

To put it another way, it seems likely that the safety will increase by that much. Before airplanes, hang gliders were one of the most popular ways to fly, along with balloons. Gliders were incredibly unsafe, because pilots were expected to control the glider by shifting their body weight. This made stalls fatal, since you couldn't recover.

Again, I'm not saying it's not possible I'm saying that it's going to be really, really hard and that saftey is the critical path to making this viable. I'm sure they are spending all of their time and resources devoted to improving saftey. I'm just pointing out the ridiculousness of focusing the PR on time savings and cost parity when the saftey deficit is currently massive.

Fair has nothing to do with it. Civilians aren't going to pay for tickets on a rocket that they perceive as unsafe just to save a few hours. Those rockets will have to go years carrying cargo (or maybe military personnel) with zero crashes before the FAA will be willing to certify them for carrying paying commercial passengers.

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