Last week, private space company Blue Origin made history when it announced that it had managed to successfully fly its first-stage rocket, New Shepard, to an altitude of 100 km (62 miles) before bringing it back to Earth in one piece. Why was this such an exciting achievement? It showed that it's possible to safely return rockets to Earth from great heights, which gives future space missions the option to reuse rockets, and this will dramatically decrease the cost of manned space exploration.
"Now safely tucked away at our launch site in West Texas is the rarest of beasts - a used rocket," Blue Origin CEO, Jeff Bezos, told the press. "Blue Origin's reusable New Shepard space vehicle flew a flawless mission - soaring to 329,839 feet [100 km] and then returning through 119-mph [191-km/h] high-altitude crosswinds to make a gentle, controlled landing just 4.5 feet [1.3 m] from the centre of the pad. Full reuse is a game changer, and we can't wait to fuel up and fly again."
Blue Origin released this footage of the landing, which meant we could all celebrate alongside it, as Bezos and SpaceX's Elon Musk traded blows on Twitter about how big of an achievement it was. But it's not quite the same as seeing the reaction of the scientists and engineers who actually made all of this happen. Fortunately, Blue Origin has given us that too, in the footage we've posted above.
First off, we seriously can't get enough of seeing scientists celebrate their incredible accomplishments. They are truly changing the world, and they know it, and seeing how happy that makes them is so freaking contagious. And secondly, by watching the reactions of the Blue Origin team, we can actually see how incredibly hard it is to land a rocket.
In the footage above, we see the room full of rocket scientists watching live as New Shepherd successfully hits the 7,620-metres-above-Earth mark. One guy up the front is literally on the edge of his seat before the room erupts into its first cheers and applause. Things go quiet again until they see the thrusters kick into gear to slow down the descent. Another victory. Then the rocket hits the 3,200-metre mark and the excited screams emerge.
Every single one of these reactions shows just how many hurdles this team had to overcome to successfully land that rocket - even before it's anywhere near the ground.
At the 150-metre mark above Earth, the entire room can barely contain itself, but it knows it has to until mission control says "Touchdown." And boy, do they let loose when it happens. Watch the video above to see what happens, and bask in the glory of how wonderful the whole thing is. We bet even Sarcastic Rover would have been moved.