When the company starts to develop new equipment, it’s normal that they need to do some tests before they actually put the equipment in function. It’s also typical that some of the tests will be destroyed in the process. Some people have argued that SpaceX does not take things seriously and that the program is not testing aggressively enough.
Assuming that everything goes as it’s supposed to, SpaceX will be destroying one of their Falcon 9 boosters on Saturday morning. The event will, of course, be broadcast live through the internet. Thanks to the almost 70% of the propellant load that it will be carrying when it will be destroyed, it should put on a show. It’s kind of odd to spend $62 million of this thing, but SpaceX knows what they are about to do. Plus, the Crew Dragon Launch Abort System (LES) will work with all the actual flight conditions. As you know, LES has already been successfully tested once, but only on the ground. It actually allowed engineers to see how the system behaves when an abort happens, while the rocket was still on its pad. However, things are different if astronauts need to exit a rocket that’s already on its way to space.
If there’s really an actual emergency, the crew of the spacecraft will probably be speeding away from a dangerous explosion. The destruction of the Falcon 9 shows the same conditions in which the spacecraft will need to survive if LES wants to bring the crew back home. And if there is a way to prevent the booster from being destroyed during the test, it’s easier for an engineer to see how things are going on. This is basically why Falcon 9 will be destroyed during the test. But there remains one question: how is this ideally “healthy” booster going to be destroyed over the Atlantic Ocean? We guess we just need to wait and find out.