SpaceX's Starship Explosion Launches Twitter's New Favourite Phrase

Elon Musk's rocket went down, but his social media platform lit up.
SpaceX's Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket explodes after launch from Starbase on April 20, 2023.
SpaceX's Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket explodes after launch from Starbase on April 20, 2023.
The Washington Post via Getty Images

Elon Musk’s debut rocket launch ended in a “rapid unscheduled disassembly” on Thursday, according to his company SpaceX.

In other words, the hotly-anticipated takeoff ended in an explosion just minutes after the test flight (carried out without any crew members) began.

Footage of the Starship falling 20 miles out of the sky while still attached to its Super Heavy rocket booster was widely shared online, before both parts blew up.

Apparently, the booster’s engines malfunctioned on ascent, while the rocket and Starship did not separate as they should have.

SpaceX didn’t seem too perturbed by the very public failure, though.

It tweeted: “As if the flight test was not exciting enough, Starship experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly before stage separation.”

Obviously, everyone saw through this careful language.

And it soon turned into a euphemism about pretty chaotic events or failures, starting with one of Musk’s other companies: Twitter.

The billionaire owner has turned the social media platform upside down since taking over in 2022. Just hours after SpaceX’s Starship crashed, he stripped all accounts of their blue verification ticks (aside from those who agreed to pay $8 or £6.45 a month for it).

Although it was planned beforehand, people couldn’t resist making the comparison to SpaceX...

Of course, Brexit made an appearance, too.

The UK’s former deputy prime minister Dominic Raab was also mocked using the phrase.

Before he announced his resignation on Friday, Twitter was speculating over his future following the release of a report into bullying allegations against him.

Naturally, people also revealed used the “synonym” to reveal what they were planning to do on Friday night.

Pretty soon, “rapid unscheduled disassembly” was being used to explain away all kinds of disasters...


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