After an overflight of the McGregor site, in a thread at NASA Space Flight.com someone noticed an interesting structure:

McGregor, TX structure

The theory being presented is that the size and hexagon pattern at the top resemble the trunk of a Dragon. Which is very obvious from this photo:

Inside a Dragon trunk

The theories being postulated are:

  • DragonFly launch mount.
  • Pad Abort test structure.
  • Something unrelated.

The overall picture which also shows a Grasshopper mount structure, what looks like a Transporter/Erector extension is below (well cropped version, original was too big to upload):

enter image description here


2 Answers 2


In a NASA TV Press conference, before the first pad abort, Hans Konnigsman noted that the pad abort will not be using a full rocket underneath it. (Makes sense, why potentially damage a $50 million vehicle that is not really needed).

He also said that they would not be using the full Transport Erector either.

Thus these parts looks like they may be the truss and a mounting bracket for the pad abort. Or they may be development models that were later refined for the actual test.

However, as the Pad Abort date approaches, SpaceX released a picture of the Dragon V2 on the pad below.

enter image description here

So unless the trunk like stage is the trunk in use here, it appears the truss segment is not being used.

Interestingly the notion of launching from a structure the same height as a Dragon for launch would be is no longer happening, and it will be aborting right from ground level.

SpaceFlightNow (Stephen Clark) has an excellent photo of the test article on the stand.

enter image description here

You can see a support truss, (pretty thin) behind it. It looks nothing like the truss seen at McGregor.


Sorry for the necropost, but this showed up in a Google search for something else.

This is a LOX "dunk tank" used for COPV testing at cryogenic temps. It was destroyed in testing to confirm COPV explosion theories after the AMOS6 incident.

ADDED: The LOX tank in my photo from Aug 2015

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Interesting. Do you have a reference, or somewhere that has more information on these COPV tests? $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Jul 28, 2018 at 19:15
  • $\begingroup$ "necroposting" is great! However SE answers should attempt to support statements that can't otherwise be easily verified. Is there some way that readers might be able to determine if this is fact or fiction? $\endgroup$
    – uhoh
    Jul 29, 2018 at 0:55
  • $\begingroup$ I'm the lead admin of the Facebook SpaceX enthusiast group. As on /r/spacex, posters will usually not be able to link to public verifiable articles about things like SpaceX internal processes or test fixtures. If that's what the audience here insists on for other SE questions, it's much less likely to happen in regards to SpaceX. You can get answers, and give them weight according to the reputations of the posters and their past predictions and explanations. In this case, one would have to be a Facebook member of the unofficial SpaceX group to form that opinion. I offer what I can. $\endgroup$ Jul 30, 2018 at 1:21
  • $\begingroup$ Fair enough, but it'd be nice to be able to differentiate between members of the public speculating and insiders posting their knowledge (and maybe being unable to post supporting documents because there are no public documents for this fixture) $\endgroup$
    – Hobbes
    Jul 30, 2018 at 7:39
  • $\begingroup$ Agreed. There can be a problem with uninformed speculation when posters on /r/spacex lie about having insider information, but on most forums, folks with accurate sources acquire better reputations over time. JUST like journalists have background sources who can't speak on the record, the space biz is the same. Nobody with insider friends and any integrity is going to post truly proprietary or confidential material, but things like this aren't in that category. There was a valid line of investigation into the AMOS6 incident that involved a sniper - Elon and others mentioned it. $\endgroup$ Jul 31, 2018 at 14:18

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