"Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly": Image Shows the Moment … – Inverse

Posted: April 22, 2023 at 12:20 am

Rapid unscheduled disassembly is the internets new favorite way to say the big rocket blew up.

SpaceXs Starship exploded dramatically in midair over the Texas coast on Thursday morning during its first integrated flight test. The rapid unscheduled disassembly, as SpaceXs social media accounts put it, happened just before the Super Heavy first stage would have separated from the rest of the vehicle (to be fair, it did separate, in a way).

Its unlikely that the Super Heavy will be reused after todays test flight.

Prior to launch, SpaceX had warned observers that it might take several tries to get Starship a spacecraft meant to carry 100 people or 100 tons of cargo into space and ultimately intended to carry CEO Elon Musks dreams of a Mars colony into orbit.

Following a few short delays, the worlds largest rocket it stands 400 feet tall and packs about 17 million pounds of thrust blasted off from SpaceXs launch facility in Boca Chica, Texas, early Tuesday morning. Moments later, the rocket had cleared Max Q, the point in the flight where the rocket experiences maximum mechanical stress. Things looked nominal until they werent.

Four minutes into the flight, right on schedule, the rocket started the rotation that was supposed to separate the Super Heavy booster from the Starship vehicle. The rocket was meant to land on a ship in the Gulf, which is pretty standard SpaceX fare these days, while Starship would have gone on to a powered belly landing in the water off Hawaii.

But instead of separating, the whole rocket kept turning cartwheels in midair, while a commentator declared calmly that everything after clearing the launch tower is icing on the cake. Then the whole thing blew up.

Below, SpaceX employees popped bottles of champagne while the crowd cheered. Read more on the test flight and the Starship rocket here.

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"Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly": Image Shows the Moment ... - Inverse

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