Elon Musk’s spaceflight startup SpaceX is one of the most important new companies on the planet. It’s helped to ferry supplies to the International Space Station and driven down costs and turnaround times for the launches of satellites and other space-based hardware. But just like any company also has a long, long list of failures, and SpaceX isn’t one to hide them. Instead, it’s created a fantastic video supercut of all of its most epic crashes, explosions, and shortcomings. It’s a joy to watch.
Every type of failure you can imagine (and plenty that you can’t) is on display here. SpaceX rocket failures have happened thanks to faulty sensors, running out of fuel or oxygen too early, bad valves, no hydraulic fluid, and even the collapse of one of its landing legs. The video, which is perfectly titled “How Not to Land an Orbital Rocket Booster,” does a great job of explaining each failure, with a bit of humor along the way.
Just watching these devastating missteps back-to-back makes you wonder how the company had the will to keep on pushing, but they did just that, and today SpaceX rockets routinely launch and land without a hitch. The video wraps up with footage of the first successful land and water landings of the boosters, just to make you feel a little bit better.
You’ve got to hand it to SpaceX for not just having the determination to keep trying, but also for being able to look back at their long history of failures and laugh at themselves.
The company’s next big test will be that of manned spaceflight. SpaceX has already shown off its concepts and designs for crew pods and SpaceX space suits — which are downright sci-fi in their aesthetic — but suffice it to say that the failures you see in the video won’t exactly be acceptable when astronauts are aboard, so let’s all keep our fingers cross that those missions go off without a hitch.