The only thing worse than that, however, is describing the capsule’s obliteration as “an anomaly”.
Nobody was aboard the Crew Dragon space capsule…this time. The question is how long NASA will permit mega-huckster Elon Musk to continue playing with his space toys before they shut him down.
Hans Koenigsmann, SpaceX Vice President of Mission Assurance (perhaps the most ironic corporate title in the world), said:
“The anomaly occurred during a test, not during a flight. That is why we test. If this has to happen, I’d rather it happens on the ground in the development program…I’m convinced this will help us to ensure that Crew Dragon is one of the safest human spaceflight vehicles ever built. ”
Astronauts around the world did not breathe a collective sigh of relief, considering Elon Musk’s track record for safety. Consider the following history of SpaceX fails:
The first SpaceX launch in 2006 failed due to a rusty nut. The spacecraft exploded.
NASA’s first payload was a total loss when, in a 2008 launch, two of the spacecraft’s rocket stages collided and sent the craft spiraling.
In 2015, a SpaceX rocket exploded just after launch. NASA lost two more payloads. Thereafter, the agency demanded Elon Musk offer discounts for payloads intended to go into orbit because they don’t seem to actually make it up there very often.
In 2016, just before an Elon Musk SpaceX rocket launched, it exploded on the platform.
SpaceX has made several attempts to return rockets back to Earth, in order to recycle them. They have a tendency to explode rather than land safely, as this video hilariously demonstrates.
Except it really isn’t funny when one considers the billions in taxpayer money that the US government has thrown at Elon Musk for his “rapid unscheduled disassembly” rocket videos.
Even Elon Musk thinks it’s funny, and that’s just plain frightening:
“The sordid history of how the @SpaceX Falcon 9, the first fully reusable, orbit-class booster rocket, eventually managed to land in one piece and stay that way … maybe Falcon realized it still loved us or finally read the instructions…”
In what can only be described as the logically-absurd next step in NASA’s relationship with Elon Musk, NASA plans to deliberately crash a SpaceX rocket into an asteroid. Apparently, the agency has figured out the best use of SpaceX rockets.
According to NASA:
“The DART spacecraft will achieve the kinetic impact by deliberately crashing itself into the moonlet…The collision will change the speed of the moonlet in its orbit around the main body by a fraction of one percent, enough to be measured using telescopes on Earth.”
Presumably, should the Earth ever be threatened by an asteroid, NASA wants to show that crashing a SpaceX rocket into it will save life as we know it. That assumes that the rocket actually gets off the ground, and Elon Musk isn’t in jail for arguing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The extent to which taxpayer money has been used to subsidize Elon Musk’s snake oil is beyond preposterous. It appears that the US government is so deeply invested in the Tesla mogul at this point that trying to extricate itself would do more harm than good.
Let’s hope some good comes from all of this.