On Dec. 21, 2015, Elon Musk's ambitious company SpaceX made history by successfully launching Falcon 9, sending a satellite into orbit, and safely landing upright on a strip of concrete landing pad in Cape Canaveral.
Now on its first anniversary, celebrate SpaceX's accomplishment by watching a clip from National Geographic's documentary of the historic event.
Documentary: SpaceX Makes History
The ORBCOMM-2 mission is not new in itself — many satellites have been sent into orbit before — and SpaceX is not the first company to launch and land a rocket upright.
What makes the occasion momentous are conditions that came together to create a unique circumstance. That is, Falcon 9 is the first reusable rocket to actually reach outer space and send a satellite into orbit.
The short video clip released by National Geographic reveals just how tense the situation was during the Falcon 9 launch, and it begins with Musk asking if the sensors could detect anything that could pose a problem for the operation.
As soon as the rocket launches, Musk immediately runs outside the control center to watch the rocket in the night sky. The video then features a montage of clips showing the rocket from where Musk stood, with Musk nervously watching and waiting, and the scientists and staff of SpaceX practically drowning in the silent tension.
Elon Musk: 'Holy Smokes'
Musk is especially nervous during the landing sequence when the first stage of the rocket seems to take longer than expected to begin its series of "three burns" to return to Earth. Of course, with the Falcon 9 explosion happening just months prior, it is no wonder that everyone is waiting with bated breaths to witness what happens next.
"OK, this is bad," Musk says in the video.
Of course, Falcon 9 is only fashionably late in showing signs of its grand re-entry but, when it successfully manages the successive burns without exploding, everyone goes wild with excitement and happiness.
Musk runs back to the control center as Falcon 9 ever so gently touches down and accomplishes his dream landing. He is even more amazed as Falcon 9 just stands in its landing spot unmoving and showing no signs that it would topple over.
"Holy smokes, man," Musk says, an appropriate expression since the Falcon 9 begins emitting a lot of smoke after its landing.
Watch the video clip below.
Just 11 days after the successful launch and landing, Musk announced that Falcon 9 had been thoroughly examined and is ready to go again. Of course, it had its fair shares of successes — delivering payloads to and from the International Space Station — and failures in 2016.
— NASA (@NASA) July 20, 2016