New POV Footage Shows Dodge Caravan’s Final Moments Before SpaceX Starship Explodes
SpaceX’s last launch did some serious damage to this Dodge Caravan. Here are some up-close photos and video of the carnage.
Last week, SpaceX launched the tallest, most powerful rocket the world has ever known. Called Starship, it was comprised of the Starship spacecraft and Super Heavy rocket—and we can say "was" because the launch, while successful, resulted in a "rapid unscheduled disassembly." In layman's terms: it exploded.
No people were harmed, but it did cause quite a bit of destruction to its surroundings, including the launch pad and a lonely Dodge Caravan owned by NASA Spaceflight that was minding its business, filming the launch. The folks from NSF also happened to capture the first-person view of its Caravan's demise, and we've got it here to watch.
Kevin Reed, a video producer for NASA Spaceflight, confirmed to The Drive that the Caravan was indeed owned by NSF and has been in service to film at Starbase since 2020. Last week, the Caravan was parked about 1,400 feet away from the launch pad to get some closeup views of the historic Super Heavy launch.
Unfortunately, the back of the van was struck with a huge chunk of concrete jarred loose by the 17 million pounds of thrust generated from the 33-engined rocket. The first object made contact with the liftgate and D-pillar, taking out two cameras (one instantly, another shut off just a moment after) and causing some serious damage to the van. The third and last camera toppled over after another impact and continued to broadcast the sky until its batteries ran out.
The outlet was finally greenlit to recover its decimated van and cameras over the weekend. Upon their arrival, the team inspected the damage to the Dodge and the camera gear knocked loose by the explosion.
NSF's content manager Jack Beyer shared photos of the aftermath at Starbase. Michael Baylor, the firm's livestream producer, also posted videos surveying the area. The damage included the van plus several broken DSLR camera bodies, at least two lenses either snapped in half or cracked, downed tripods, and more.
In all, NSF says that it had between $25,000 and $30,000 worth of gear mounted to the car while at Starbase.
As for the van, all might not be lost. NSF was able to drive it away despite the damage and leaking coolant. Reed says that the company is currently in talks with a body shop to decide the feasibility of turning the Dodge into El Vanmino, or perhaps a camera trailer. If it can't be salvaged, NSF says that it has at least served them well.
"We take these risks on purpose to get the best live and recorded shots for our viewers," Kevin Reed told The Drive. "We're always very grateful when rocket companies allow the media to have this kind of access inside the 'Danger Zone'."
But hey, it looks like NSF is making the most out of this blunder. The site is now selling some quirky t-shirts that feature the silhouette of the clobbered Dodge Caravan with the caption "It was a concrete way to go."
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