SpaceX founder and CEO Elon Musk has released a bloopers video showing "How NOT to land an orbital rocket booster". The video shows, as Musk describes it, "the sordid history of how the SpaceX Falcon 9, the first fully reusable, orbit-class booster rocket, eventually managed to land in one piece and stay that way".
For Musk, this collection of failures is more like a victory lap. Last week, SpaceX successfully landed another Falcon 9 first stage booster after launching a US Air Force space plane from Cape Canaveral. The ten-year journey of blowing up one rocket after another seems to have come to an end. There’s still work to do though. “Long road to reusability of Falcon 9 primary boost stage,” tweeted this morning.Elon Musk
SpaceX and Musk have long pursued reusable rockets to lower the cost of spaceflight. It's a core part of the company's goal to colonize Mars with giant reusable spaceships.
SpaceX successfully launched two used Falcon 9 rockets earlier this year. The company has also seen two other failures. A Falcon 9 rocket failed in June 2015 during a Dragon cargo ship launch for NASA. In September 2016, a rocket exploded on SpaceX's launchpad at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station ahead of a preflight test.
Earlier this year, Musk said SpaceX is studying the potential for a completely reusable Falcon 9 rocket. That would mean reusing the rocket's upper stage, as well as its protective payload fairing (the nose cone). The fairing alone costs about $5 million, Musk has said.
SpaceX is also building a much larger rocket, the Falcon Heavy, which will consist of three Falcon 9 boosters for its first stage. All three of those rockets are designed to land after launch, Musk has said.
You can watch the video in all its high-res glory.