This is why SpaceX just blew up one of its own rockets

On Sunday, SpaceX conducted an altitude test of the company’s Crew Dragon capsule. The Falcon 9 launch rocket soared 20 km over Florida’s Space Coast with its engines shut off. However, it had suddenly burst into flames.

SpaceX Falcon 9
SpaceX’s Falcon 9 exploded after its Crew Dragon capsule detached from it. Photo: SpaceX

A grand display

Despite looking like a catastrophe, this was an intentional move by the space exploration firm. This is because it was testing the ship’s ability to escape a rocket failure and save its crew. This is just in time before two NASA astronauts enter the capsule this spring to head to the International Space Station (ISS).

QZ reports that even though the boosters have been designed to be reusable, SpaceX has to prepare for the worst-case scenario. Therefore, this rocket was sacrificed after three previous outings.

The Crew Dragon spacecraft that was on top of the rocket had escaped, using its thrusters to fly to safety. It then deployed its parachutes to glide down to the ocean near Florida.

Important experiment

These systems can be crucial to saving the lives of those onboard. A similar process saved the lives of an astronaut and a cosmonaut in 2028. Following a launch of a Soyuz rocket from Russia’s space agency.

SpaceX founder Elon Musk spoke of the importance of this mission just before it took off.

“Dragon high altitude, supersonic abort test is a risky mission, as it’s pushing the envelope in so many ways,” he said on his Twitter.

Following the success of the project, he said that the mission was picture perfect.

Steve Jurvetson Elon Musk and Chris Anderson
Elon Musk (right) is delighted with the results that his team has achieved. SpaceX is now ready to lead the space race over the next few years.. Photo: Steve Jurvetson via Wikimedia Commons

Ready for lift-off

This experiment was his company’s last milestone in its long-term journey to help transport NASA astronauts to the ISS.

Musk and his engineers will now analyze an abundance of data to certify the Dragon spacecraft and the Falcon 9 for a manned flight test. This groundbreaking test could be performed as soon as March.

These tests follow Boeing’s Starliner launch to assist NASA with transport to the ISS last month. However, this mission had hit some problems as the engines of the capsule that detached failed to ignite.

Boeing NASA Starliner
NASA has been receiving support from both Boeing and SpaceX in its goal to expand on missions to space this decade. Photo: Boeing

Therefore, SpaceX is in a prime position to lead space exploration this decade. With a series of successful tests and a huge investment in other programs such as Starlink, it will hold a commanding presence in the heavens.

Altogether, the space race looks to be back on in a new era. New technologies have been helping institutions reach new heights and by the time this decade is over, SpaceX could be one step closer in its mission to colonize Mars.

What are your thoughts on the successful testing conducted by SpaceX? Let us know what you think of the progress in the comment section.

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