Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly meme example depicting the spacex tweet and an illustration of the titanic sinking.

Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly

Part of a series on SpaceX. [View Related Entries]

Updated Apr 21, 2023 at 06:41PM EDT by Zach.

Added Apr 21, 2023 at 08:07AM EDT by Owen.

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About

Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly is a catchphrase that refers to a convoluted way to say the word "disaster" or "explosion" and is used in memes to make fun of an April 2023 tweet from SpaceX about the then-recent explosion of its Starship rocket during a test launch in Texas. The phrase was satirically used on Twitter following the event as a way to make fun of Elon Musk and SpaceX's exploding spacecraft.

Origin

On April 20th, 2023, the Twitter[1] account of @SpaceX posted a tweet about the then-recent failure of its spacecraft and super heavy rocket (collectively referred to as Starship) in the later part of its test flight that launched in Texas (though the company claimed the launch itself was a success). The tweet stated, "As if the flight test was not exciting enough, Starship experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly before stage separation," gaining roughly 66,900 likes in one day (shown below).


SpaceX @SpaceX ... As if the flight test was not exciting enough, Starship experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly before stage separation 9:42 AM. Apr 20, 2023 15.1M Views

Soon after the tweet's upload, various Twitter users started to use the phrase "rapid unscheduled disassembly" ironically, using it as a replacement for the word "disaster" or "explosion" as a way to point out SpaceX's choice of words when announcing the final moments of its test results.

The first known user to make a joke of this nature was Twitter[2] user @MKBHD at around 9:41 a.m. EST on April 20th, 2023, writing, "'Rapid unscheduled disassembly' is such a friendly way of saying 'it blew up, but we learned a lot on the way,'" gaining roughly 22,800 likes in one day (shown below).


Marques Brownlee @MKBHD โ—โ—โ— "Rapid unscheduled disassembly" is such a friendly way of saying "it blew up, but we learned a lot on the way" 9:41 AM. Apr 20, 2023 1.4M Views 1,671 Retweets 125 Quotes 22.8K Likes

Spread

About an hour later on April 20th, 2023, Twitter[3] user @JUNlPER quote retweeted SpaceX's tweet[1] with a picture of the Twin Towers falling on 9/11, dubbing the disaster "a rapid unscheduled disassembly," and gaining roughly 39,500 likes in one day (shown below, left). Similar comparisons surfaced on the day of, such as a tweet sent by Twitter[4] user @VeryBadLlama on April 20th that namedropped the Titanic disaster, gaining roughly 3,200 likes in one day (shown below, right).


Pr pudding person @JUNIPER as if september 11th, 2001 wasn't exciting enough, the twin towers in new york experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly before lunch break SpaceX @SpaceX - 23h As if the flight test was not exciting enough, Starship experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly before stage separation Show this thread 11:08 AM. Apr 20, 2023 1.6M Views Janel Comeau @VeryBadLlama as if her maiden voyage was not exciting enough, RMS Titanic experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly before arrival RECERCES 111111111 ........ :...... ..: 17 11 't. SpaceX @SpaceX. 23h As if the flight test was not exciting enough, Starship experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly before stage separation Show this thread 11:29 AM. Apr 20, 2023 106.6K Views ...

Others used the phrase "rapid unscheduled disassembly" to make fun of Elon Musk's acquisition of Twitter, essentially labeling his ownership and time as Twitter CEO a "disaster." The first-known user to make the comparison was Twitter[5] user @Angry_Staffer at around 9:46 a.m. EST on April 20th, gaining roughly 2,700 likes in one day (shown below).


Angry Staffer UFOPP @Angry_Staffer "Rapid unscheduled disassembly" Is that a Twitter metaphor? SpaceX @SpaceX. 23h As if the flight test was not exciting enough, Starship experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly before stage separation Show this thread 9:46 AM. Apr 20, 2023 111.8K Views โ—

The memes spread to other social media sites as well. For instance, the Facebook [6] page The Other 98% posted an Apu Takes A Bullet meme about the situation on April 20th, gaining roughly 7,100 reactions in one day (shown below). Memes also surfaced on Instagram. [7]


"Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly" FRAN MUSK STANS ELON MUSK "IT WAS A BEAUTIFUL SUCCESS! "BRO, YOUR ROCKET EXPLODED"

Various Examples


OH, THE RAPID UNSCHEDULED DISASSEMBLY! imgflip.com 12293 A. C. Classical Studies Memes for Hellenistic Teens @CSMFHT The Western Roman Empire has experienced a rapid unscheduled disassembly Western Roman Empire Angles Jutes Saxons Franks Chalons 451 Vandals . 2:45 PM. Apr 20, 2023 71.7K Views Goths Vandals Huns Hun Capital Rome Visigoths Carthage Invasions of the Roman Empire 100-500 CE Ostrogoths Huns Adrianople 378 Ostrogoths Constantinople Eastern Roman Empire Angles, Saxons Franks Goths Visigoths Ostrogoths : Huns Vandals The engine blew up The engine experienced rapid unscheduled disassembly


Search Interest

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External References

[1] Twitter โ€“ @SpaceX

[2] Twitter โ€“ @MKBHD

[3] Twitter โ€“ @JUNlPER

[4] Twitter โ€“ @VeryBadLlama

[5] Twitter โ€“ @Angry_Staffer

[6] Facebook โ€“ The Other 98%

[7] Instagram โ€“ @middleageriot

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Recent Images 18 total


Top Comments

ObadiahtheSlim
ObadiahtheSlim

Pretty sure that joke's been around for decade. I remember it going around in the KSP community with several claiming it from older sources. IIRC, some said the military used that term to describing an artillery shell exploding in the barrel.

+35
verbum
verbum

Turning something into "technical-jargon-ese" can be fun.

I once asked someone if they were diagnosed with "acute early-onset cerebral degeneration" instead of just telling them that what they just said made them sound like an absolute idiot. Unnecessarily pedantic? Yes, but it was funny to me.

I'm reminded of that tongue-in-cheek IBM video where the engineer spends 20 minutes explaining the capabilities of some system he's showing, but he's saying nonesense once you get past the overly-technical language.

+20

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