CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX has put together a bloopers video showing “How NOT to land an orbital rocket booster.”
Set to John Philip Sousa’s rousing march “The Liberty Bell,” the two-minute video posted Thursday shows rockets exploding at sea and over land. The opening blast, from 2013, is even synchronized to the music.
SpaceX chief Elon Musk can afford to poke fun at his early, pioneering efforts at rocket recycling, now that his private company has pulled off 16 successful booster landings. The most recent occurred last week in Florida.
“We messed up a lot before it finally worked, but there’s some epic explosion footage,” Musk recently said on Twitter.
In one video shot, Musk looks over a rocket’s charred remains with the caption: “It’s just a scratch.” After another huge fiery explosion, this one on the company’s barge, the caption reads: “Well, technically, it did land ... just not in one piece.”
Musk tweeted Thursday that when the Falcon rocket’s upper stage and the cargo enclosure can also be retrieved and reused, launch costs will drop by a factor of more than 100.
For now, SpaceX’s first-stage boosters — 15 stories tall — separate shortly after liftoff and fly back to Cape Canaveral Air Force Station or an ocean platform for a vertical touchdown. Until the company’s recovery efforts — unique among rocket makers launching spacecraft into orbit — these segments were discarded at sea. A couple of these recycled rockets have launched a second time.
This is the fifth flight for one of these crewless mini shuttles, known as the X-37B Orbital Test Vehicle.
The video ends with scenes of the first successful booster touchdown at Cape Canaveral, Florida, in 2015 and the first one on an ocean platform in 2016.
“The Liberty Bell” march was the theme music for the old “Monty Python” comedy TV series.