On top of pushing the envelope in the aerospace industry with their reusable orbital-class rockets, SpaceX—the company that's run by Elon Musk and trying to get humans to Mars—also seems to be on a tangential but equally important mission: reminding people of just how insanely cool space exploration is. And their latest reminder, a slow-mo video of some launches, landings, and stage separations of their Falcon 9 rocket, is downright inspiring.
Seriously, these are the kinds of videos that are going to breed a generation of Mark Watneys.
According to SpaceX, the missions shown (in order of appearance) are: May JCSAT-14; July CRS-9 launch, stage separation, engine plume interaction, and re-entry burn; December 2015 ORBCOMM landing burn; July CRS-9 landing burn.
That December 2015 ORBCOMM landing burn is from the first time SpaceX re-landed their Falcon 9 back on terra firma, which was quite a spectacular moment. But what has to take the cake visually in this video is the July CRS-9 "engine plume interaction," which happens at about :37. What we're looking at there is, according to SpaceX's Instagram, "engine burns from first and second stages of Falcon 9 [interacting] after last launch's stage separation."
As far as more mind-bendingly cool innovations to come from SpaceX and Elon Musk, we can expect both some initial launches of the Falcon Heavy (which will have three first-stage boosters compared to the Falcon 9's one), as well as a plan for colonizing the Red Planet. Until then, we can feast our eyes and imaginations on all of the incredible slow-mo and high-def rocket videos that have been making the rounds lately, including this one from NASA of the test firing of an Orbital ATK QM-2 rocket booster.
But before you blast off into space—or your imaginations—leave your mark back here on Earth in the comments below!