What to do when you have a Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly

Nov 20, 2023

Happy Monday!

I’ve always loved space.

As a kid I would visit the Kennedy Space Center in Florida fairly often, and I’ve always loved space movies and TV shows like Apollo 13, Star Trek, and others.

Following the story of Elon Musk and SpaceX is like watching an epic space drama unfold right in front of your eyes.

It’s been fascinating to watch.

This past Saturday, another milestone launch took place.

Starship—the appropriately named vessel that is poised to eventually take manned missions to Mars—was launched in a key test that was intended to collect crucial data about orbital insertion and hot stage separation techniques.

(Here’s an absolutely breathtaking video of the successful hot stage separation.)

In a perfect world,

  1. Starship itself would have completed an entire suborbital path around the earth and landed in the Pacific just off the coast of Hawaii.
  2. And the first stage rocket would have landed in the Gulf of Mexico.

That, my friends, did not happen.

Instead, the first stage was lost.

It experienced a “Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly” — or RUD, as SpaceX commonly refers to it — about 3 minutes 20 seconds into the flight.

It exploded. The visual is quite amazing. Just check out SpaceX’s X account for all of the amazing photos and videos from the test.

The second stage was also lost.

They lost communication with it somewhere within its suborbital flight path and debris is reported to have been sighted just Northeast of Turks and Caicos.

A total mission failure, right?

Absolutely NOT.

SpaceX had this to say:

While it’s not happening in a lab or on a test stand, this is absolutely a test. What we’re doing today will provide invaluable data to continue rapid development of Starship. This rapid, iterative development approach has been the basis for all of SpaceX’s major innovative advancements including Falcon, Dragon, and Starlink.

SpaceX is a force today.

And their history is littered with this kind of activity.

In fact, as I write this today, another launch was covered.

Just another normal day at SpaceX, where they send a rocket into space with dozens of global internet satellites aboard, and the reusable booster rocket lands upright on a drone ship in the middle of the ocean. 🤯

The once unthinkable is now business as usual.

And it’s all thanks to the same process that led to two explosions on a “failed mission.”

SpaceX expects Rapid Unscheduled Disassemblies.


Because it’s how they learn not to have one next time.

You will experience RUD’s from time to time. I know I do.

And in the moment it’s frustrating.

But in retrospect, I am always grateful from what I’ve learned in the process.

Trust the process. It will get you through.

The process I’ve created to help you refactor your business so that recurring revenue is the normal, expected result will work if consistently applied.

Join me and my friends on the journey here: