There are two kinds of people in this world: Those who can find humor in watching hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of rockets explode, and those who cannot.
Elon Musk is, apparently, the former.
Late last month, the SpaceX CEO tweeted that he was working on a "blooper reel" of failed rocket landings and today he delivered on that promise.
In a two-minute video cheekily titled "How NOT to Land a Rocket Booster," Musk takes the viewer on an explosion packed journey spanning a little over two years. The video begins with SpaceX's first attempt to land a Falcon 9 rocket booster in September 2013 through the first successful landing of an orbital-class rocket in history in December of 2015 and up to the first time SpaceX landed a rocket on one of its drone barges in April 2016.
Each of the 11 explosive failures that dotted Musk's journey from space chump to space champ is accompanied by some droll one liners ("That's not an explosion, it's just a rapid disassembly!"). One can almost hear Musk heu-heu-heuing at his own wit over the carnival music that accompanies the face-ripping explosions seen in the video.
These days, SpaceX makes landing a rocket look easy—in a little over a year and half, it has successfully recovered a rocket booster 16 times. Yet as Musk's blooper reel serves to remind us, it wasn't so long ago that each SpaceX launch was a nail biter and a mission's success was far from guaranteed.
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It's also a reminder that Musk hasn't gotten complacent in his success. Even though the stench of failure has barely cleared the launch pad at Cape Canaveral, SpaceX plans to test its Falcon Heavy—which is essentially three Falcon 9 rockets strapped together—later this year. This is the rocket that Musk hopes will carry crew to Mars in the not-too-distant future and because he's a glutton for punishment, Musk is also planning on recovering all three of the Falcon Heavy's boosters.
The stunt will demand an unprecedented level of precision and coordination in an industry that is not exactly known for cutting corners, but hey—no one ever said spaceflight was easy.