15 September, 2017
Then he went and did the damn thing.
In that same time, SpaceX has completed 16 successful Falcon 9 first stage landings.
There's an old quote about failure often attributed to Thomas Edison, and while he may not have actually said it, it rings true here: I have not failed.
He took to Instagram to unveil a two-minute blooper clip entitled, "How not to land an orbital rocket booster".
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.
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With tongue firmly in cheek, the video calls the catastrophic explosions as "rapid unscheduled disassembly events" and describes one, where the rocket falls over and explodes, as little more than a scratch.
Here's what one of those successful landings looked like.
SpaceX has perfected the process involving the launch of Falcon 9 rockets, putting satellites in orbit, and recovering the booster, the most important and expensive part.
Thus far, only the primary boost stage rockets have successfully been reused but, according to Musk, when the upper stage and fairing follow, costs will drop by a factor of more than 100. It's where the majority of the engines are found - in the case of SpaceX's Falcon 9 rocket, there are nine engines in that first stage.
Since its first successful landing in December 2015, SpaceX has only crashed three of the rockets that it meant to land. The landing of flight 23 resulted in the first stable FULL landing at sea in April of 2016.