Back in December 2015, SpaceX achieved something truly incredible.
They sent a rocket into space and then promptly brought the first stage back to Earth in one piece and landed it upright.
It was an incredible moment to watch and now, thanks to National Geographic we’ve been given a behind the scenes glimpse into the reactions from both the SpaceX team and Elon Musk himself.
With unprecedented access to the launch, it’s a chance to see Musk without any of the playful bravado that has defined his personality online and in interviews.
The video shows both the launch itself and then the rollercoaster of emotions that follows as the team and Musk keep a close eye over the mission and finally the landing itself.
As the landing process begins, Musk is seen outside watching anxiously. At one point he can be heard saying “this is bad”, presumably fearing the worst.
Then, finally, the landing gear extends and the rocket is guided gently back down to the ground before making an almost flawless landing.
Of course SpaceX’s journey hasn’t all been smooth sailing. Back in September 2016 another of its Falcon 9 rockets exploded on the launchpad destroying a satellite built by Facebook.
Before the company managed to achieve a successful landing there were of course a few hiccups, caught and shared by Musk on his Twitter and Instagram account.
Astronomy Photographer Of The Year 2016