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September 14, 2017

Watch SpaceX blow up a lot of rockets while trying to land them

by John_A

During the early days of SpaceX’s rocket landing attempts failure was definitely an option, so instead getting depressed, Elon Musk embraced it. Knowing that everyone loves a good (harmless) explosion, he just released a full-on fail highlight reel of the early attempts, set to the Monty Python theme and accompanied by Arnold-like quips. “It’s just a scratch,” he said, after one booster was deliberately blown to pieces due to an engine sensor failure.

You can reminisce to all the greatest hits of those early days. That includes a last-minute fin failure due to a lack of hydraulic fluid (“technically it did land… but not in one piece”), throttle valve “stiction” followed by a painfully slow topple (“Look, that’s not an explosion, it’s just a ‘rapid unscheduled disassembly (RUD)’”), landing leg collapse (“entropy… is such a lonely word”), a landing burn failure (“the course of true love never did run smooth”), and the final barge failure, when the booster ran out of propellant (‘#$@&%*?!^&^%^$!,” I think).

The video ends with the first successful pad landing and first successful droneship landing so we don’t finish with a bad taste in our mouths. In a tweet (below), Elon Musk recalls the “long road to re-usability of Falcon 9 primary boost stage,” and adds that “when upper stage & fairing also reusable, costs will drop by a factor > 100.”

Over a year has passed since the disastrous pad explosion that halted SpaceX flights for the better part of three months. Since then, the Falcon 9 has been flying at a breakneck pace (13 missions), and has landed its booster successfully in 10 consecutive attempts, including several with recycled boosters. WIth the video, Musk was no doubt using his mathematically-oriented mind to follow the formula: Comedy = tragedy + time.

Long road to reusabity of Falcon 9 primary boost stage…When upper stage & fairing also reusable, costs will drop by a factor >100.

— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 14, 2017

Source: Elon Musk (Instagram)

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