SpaceX to detonate a Falcon 9 rocket moments after launch

Sacrificial lamb

The main purpose of Crew Dragon spaceships is ferrying astronauts from NASA to the International Space Station, but before that can happen, SpaceX must somehow prove that, in case of an extreme rocket failure that might result in an explosion, the capsule can keep astronauts safe.  Simulations can be done on computers, of course, but it often turns out that real world conditions are much more different and can cause various outcomes. Therefore, SpaceX are going to deliberately blow up one of their Falcon 9 rockets soon after launch on Saturday, January 18.

Launch ready

The In-Flight Abort Test will begin with the launch of a Falcon 9 carrying a Crew Dragon spacecraft that will be launched from the Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39A. One minute and twenty eight seconds will separate the launch of the spaceship from the moment when the rocket’s first stage engines will shut down. At this point, the Crew Dragon will commence an automated abort command, which will prompt its eight SuperDraco escape thrusters to turn on. The thrusters will ultimately push the Crew Dragon away from the Falcon 9 and then parachute safely.


If all goes to plan, the Crew Dragon spacecraft will turn out totally fine. However, SpaceX actually hope that the abort sequence will provoke a total explosion of the Falcon 9, thus burning up all the remaining fuel so that it won’t end up at the bottom of the ocean (where the sacrificial Falcon 9 will be spending the rest of its days.)

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1 Comment

  1. More info: The sacrificial booster is the first-ever Block 5 booster built, serial no. B1046. This is the life-leader for the currently-flying advanced Block 5 version of the Falcon 9, and B1046 has already flown 3 missions successfully (Bangabandhu, Merah Putih and SSO-A). Guess it’s fitting the class leader for Block 5 is going out in a blaze of glory.

    Farewell B1046, and we thank you.

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