This week has been quite filled with violent explosions.
There was a massive undersea volcanic eruption reported earlier this week in the Pacific Ocean. Now, SpaceX has made the news with the same genre of events. The company blew up a test tank filled with liquid nitrogen at its launch facility at Boca Chica, Texas on Tuesday. It is not yet ascertained if the explosion was intentional.
The massive explosion happened after SpaceX’s GSE-4 test tank was filled with liquid nitrogen and pressurized. The company usually uses these tanks to test the structural integrity of material that it’ll eventually use on spacecraft.
It is yet to be determined if the company was testing the limits of the tank — exploding violently, that is — it seems like it might have been unintentional. Other angles captured of the explosion show cars and equipment nearby. It’s unlikely that they wouldn’t have cleared the area if they knew it would explode. (Nearby porta-potties, one sharp-eyed observer noted, appear to have survived the blast.)
Then again, the company has blown up these test tanks on purpose before. In June 2020, it blew up a tank to test out a Starship prototype. Therefore, there is a perfect possibility that this was intentional.
SpaceX is famous for explosions as it often uses them to test the equipment. Sometimes, it is unintentional too. The company has a history of its rockets blowing upon its launch and landing pads. Regardless, it’s fascinating to see one produce massive clouds of nitrogen rather than humongous fireballs.