These days SpaceX, the aerospace company owned by tech mogul Elon Musk, makes landing rockets look easy.
But it wasn’t always that way.
To underscore this point in comical yet dramatic fashion, Musk has released a blooper reel of explosive SpaceX rocket tests.
“Long road to reusability of Falcon 9 primary boost stage…When upper stage & fairing also reusable, costs will drop by a factor >100,” Musk said on Twitter early Thursday morning, referring to the company’s reusable, 229-foot-tall orbital rocket system.
His message also included a one-minute clip of a longer video posted to YouTube (which we’ve embedded below)
Since the company’s founding in 2002, its staff has performed dozens of tests – yet many of their attempts to launch and land these towering, fuel-filled machines ended in fiery explosions.
Today SpaceX has more or less perfected launching Falcon 9 rockets, dropping off customer payloads into orbit, and recovering the booster: the most expensive part of the rocket. But as Musk noted, the company is working on recovering as much of the multi-million-dollar system as possible.
Watch SpaceX’s “How Not to Land an Orbital Rocket Booster” supercut below.
The video is a montage of tests dating back several years, including some of the company’s Grasshopper rocket. Some of the high-definition footage has not yet been released to the public.
While SpaceX pokes fun at some of its failures with the supercut, it doesn’t show Falcon 9 rocket explosions that resulted in a loss of expensive payloads (and there have been a few).
SpaceX plans to launch its biggest-ever – and reusable – rocket system called the Falcon Heavy in November, and follow up with crewed launches of NASA astronauts and other customers (perhaps even a crewed moon mission) in 2019.