The Onion: “Completely Unsafe Design”

NASA scientists stress that the 6-year-old’s hand-drawn spacecraft would need a top-to-bottom redesign in order for it to be “even remotely close” to flight-ready.

MONROEVILLE, PA—Listing off a litany of structural and technological flaws, the nation’s leading aerospace engineers issued a stern warning Thursday that local 6-year-old Bradley Koenig’s design for a spaceship is entirely unsafe.

Experts from the fields of aerodynamics, jet propulsion, and control engineering unanimously confirmed that the orange-and-purple rocket ship, which Koenig drew during Mrs. Silvestri’s first-grade class, not only raises major safety concerns, but could compromise the lives of everyone on board were it to ever go to launch.

“I can’t even begin to enumerate all the safety protocols and fundamental principles of spaceflight that this particular vehicle violates,” said veteran NASA flight director Raymond Fletcher, who called the crayon-drawn spaceship the “most poorly conceived” and “shockingly hazardous” craft he had ever encountered. “The asymmetrical oval shape of the craft alone would likely cause it to break apart upon reentry into Earth’s atmosphere. That’s assuming the long row of randomly spaced circular windows are properly coated with a heat-resistant material to ensure they don’t disintegrate before reaching space in the first place.”

“Bradley’s mockup ignores even the most basic laws of thermodynamics,” Fletcher continued. “This ship is essentially just a death trap.”

Fletcher, who estimated that the spacecraft would cost in excess of $230 billion given the wide array of elaborate instruments affixed to the exterior, said that the vehicle’s protruding robot arm, which he noted with alarm was more than twice the length of the ship, certainly would not be deployed during takeoff and would not be holding a large sword, as depicted.

Engineers also said that the ship’s apparent lack of oxygen generators, high-temperature insulation tiles, vertical stabilizers, doors of any kind, and an air pressurization system would significantly endanger the lives of the two smiling stick-figure crew members—distinctly labeled with blue arrows and large capital lettering as Koenig and his best friend, Joshua.

“Bradley’s mockup ignores even the most basic laws of thermodynamics. This ship is essentially just a death trap.”

“First of all, the astronauts are not secured by any seat belts or straps—there aren’t even seats to begin with—meaning that they would be thrown about the cabin immediately upon liftoff,” said former space shuttle Endeavour commander Christopher Ferguson, who noted that, even if the seemingly rudimentary boosters could generate enough thrust to reach orbit, there appeared to be no coolant system to prevent the intense 5,000-degree temperatures of fuel burns from vaporizing the entire craft. “In addition, the large glass dome surrounding the cockpit would shatter almost instantly from the intense atmospheric pressure of reaching escape velocity. They won’t be playing on a basketball hoop on the flight deck when that happens, I assure you of that. They would be propelled out of the module and suffocate within seconds.”

“I would not even consider piloting such a craft without extensive safety modifications,” Ferguson added.

Ferguson also said that the two variously sized wings mounted to either side of the spacecraft would compromise its flight trajectory, sending it careening dramatically off course during launch. He further explained that the cockpit’s steering wheel would be virtually useless in such a situation.

“We must have run at least 200 3D computer simulations, and there is simply no scenario in which the periscope doesn’t at some point break off and rip an enormous hole in the command module,” said Paulo Lozano, director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Space Propulsion Lab. “And unless Bradley has discovered a new form of liquid propellant I’m unaware of, it’s fairly obvious that with so many flames shooting from the engine, the fuel supply would be depleted within a matter of hours, leaving the craft immobilized and left to float off forever in the void of space.”

“And, needless to say, navigating any manned ship so close to a giant speeding asteroid is also unbelievably dangerous,” Lozano added.

Despite the clear and irrefutable problems in Koenig’s design, experts did admit that the ship’s giant laser cannon for shooting space monsters was the most awesome thing they had ever seen.–38523