"It's pretty much curtains."
Trouble in Prototype
A new photo leaked online this week shows a damaged SpaceX prototype experts can't seem to agree on. Some describe the incident as a mild setback while others say the downcomer is likely toast.
Matt Lowne, a space YouTuber with half a million subscribers, tweeted the pic yesterday and said it had been circulating on social media. He said the metal column in the middle of the image was meant to be a cylinder, a far cry from the crumpled up shape it has in the leaked image.
"It's pretty much curtains for Booster 7, unless SpaceX excise the downcomer and weld in a new one, which is unlikely due to how far along Booster 8 is now," Lowne said online. "For anyone wondering, yes, that's the downcomer, and yes, it's meant to be a cylinder."
Thanks to this leaked pic, it's pretty much curtains for Booster 7, unless SpaceX excise the downcomer and weld in a new one, which is unlikely due to how far along Booster 8 is now.
For anyone wondering, yes, that's the downcomer, and yes, it's meant to be a cylinder 🙁 pic.twitter.com/0xfpJLoWlF
— Matt Lowne (@Matt_Lowne) April 23, 2022
Other sources, however, describe the event much more calmly. Wccftech, a tech and hardware site, said SpaceX had only experienced a "minor snag" in a report published today, and that the event could've been a one-off occurrence instead a design flaw.
Thus far the usually Twitter-loving SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk hasn't said anything specific about the accident online, so it's hard to say which interpretation of the damage's severity is right.
Whatever the case, though, it's unlikely to slow him down for long. As Wccftech points out, Musk is still awaiting full FAA environmental processing at his Texas SpaceX facility while continuing tests and business as usual. If there's one thing we can count on the billionaire who wants to take over Twitter completely to be, it's motivated.
More on space accidents: The Space Station Has to Swerve to Avoid Debris From Satellite Russia Blew Up