Just four minutes into its launch on April 20, Elon Musk’s SpaceX Starship engine “experienced rapid unscheduled disassembly.”
Not sure what that means? The engine blew up.
Actually, SpaceX said they “commanded” a “flight termination system” to intentionally blow it up. They said the event was a success:
“With a test like this, success comes from what we learn, and we learned a tremendous amount about the vehicle and ground systems today that will help us improve on future flights of Starship.”
So why did they use the weasel words “rapid unscheduled disassembly”?
The April issue of my newsletter, Wordnerdery, looks at weasel words, including common ways companies try to disguise firing someone. It also shares some of the creative ways others found to describe the “rapid unscheduled disassembly.” My favourite might be “consciously uncoupled from a solid state,” referencing the term famously used by Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin to announce their separation.
Have a look and let me know what other ways you would describe the SpaceX event, either seriously or tongue-in-cheek. And what’s your most-hated euphemism? I’d love to hear!
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