Images via Pixabay/Victor Tangermann
SpaceX Fireball

Watch a SpaceX Rocket Explode in Mid-Flight

byVictor Tangermann
1. 21. 20
Images via Pixabay/Victor Tangermann

It looks like a scene out of "Star Wars."

Big Fireball

Early Sunday morning, SpaceX launched its astronaut-ferrying Crew Dragon spacecraft on top of a Falcon 9 rocket from the Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida.

Then, 84 seconds after launch, the rocket blew up in a gigantic fireball several miles above the Atlantic Ocean — a spectacular failure that was all part of the plan, Space.com reports.

Abort Test

The Elon Musk-led spacetech company was conducting an “in-flight abort test” — a launch escape system that allows the Crew Dragon capsule to gain distance between it and the rocket below if anything goes awry during launch.

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During the test, eight SuperDraco thrusters fired up and accelerated the capsule away from the ill-fated rocket. The Falcon 9 primary stage exploded into smithereens shortly after — something SpaceX was expecting to happen.

A Terrifying Sight

It was the last major test for SpaceX’s Crew Dragon spacecraft, which will — if everything goes according to plan — carry NASA astronauts Robert Behnken and Doug Hurley to the International Space Station as soon as April.

On Sunday, the spacecraft was only carrying two data-collecting crash-test dummies. After the test, it splashed down safely in the Atlantic ocean, its descent slowed by four parachutes.

“Today, we watched the demonstration of a system that we hope to never use, but can save lives if we ever do,” Hurley said in a NASA statement from Sunday. “It took a lot of work between NASA and SpaceX to get to this point, and we can’t wait to take a ride to the space station soon.”

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READ MORE: SpaceX aces Crew Dragon launch abort test, destroys rocket on purpose [Space.com]

More on SpaceX: SpaceX Says It’ll Drive Astronauts to Launchpad in Tesla Model X


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