There are enough quotes about failure and success to fill a 365-day desk calendar, but one of my favorites comes from Elon Musk himself.
"There's a silly notion that failure's not an option at NASA,” Musk said in a 2005 interview with Fast Company. "Failure is an option here. If things are not failing, you are not innovating enough."
Musk's words are reflected in an explosive "blooper reel" he recently posted to his Twitter page showing several of the failures his company SpaceX made on the way to realizing the goal of landing and reusing its Falcon 9 boosters.
Long road to reusabity of Falcon 9 primary boost stage…When upper stage & fairing also reusable, costs will drop by a factor >100. pic.twitter.com/WyTAQ3T9EP— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) September 14, 2017
In each case, the company learned from the incident to better perfect its next launch and inch ever closer towards success. That long-awaited victory finally arrived on Dec. 22, 2015. As you can see in the video below, the excitement of years of failure giving way to one big moment of fist-pumping, hugging, screaming, crying triumph is truly something.
On April 8, 2016, SpaceX made history again by becoming the first organization to achieve a vertical landing on a floating platform.
While the road in the months since has not been completely free of failure (a September 2016 mission featured the spectacular destruction of a Falcon 9 on the launchpad), it's clear that the company has turned a corner. So far in 2017, SpaceX has successfully launched and landed 10 of its Falcon 9 boosters. It's next goal is to land a complete Falcon 9 rocket with its upper-stage and nose cone intact.
According to Musk, achieving that next milestone will save millions on future flight costs.
Failure, as shown above, will simply be part of the business plan.