You’d think that Elon Musk would be unfazed by his accomplishments. But when your company launches the most powerful rocket ever, you’re allowed to geek out a bit. National Geographic released a behind-the-scenes video of the SpaceX CEO watching the groundbreaking launch of the Falcon Heavy rocket and his reaction reveals a more human side of Musk that the world hardly ever gets to see.
“Holy flying f–k, that thing took off,” Musk exclaimed as the rocket left the launch pad. In seconds, he ran out of the launch control center to watch from outside. “Look at that! That’s unreal!” Musk cried, as he gazed skyward with a huge smile on his face.
National Geographic followed Elon Musk on the day of the launch to collect footage for the upcoming season of their show, Mars. Part documentary, part fictional storytelling, the show is all about the first human mission to the red planet. The documentary segment of the show highlights the real-life innovations needed to get us there. As the video notes, with the success of the Falcon Heavy, SpaceX plans to build an even larger rocket that can take humans to Mars.
Musk’s reaction to the launch probably had a lot to do with the fact that he didn’t think the Falcon Heavy would take off. He told reporters at the post-launch press conference that he imagined an explosion instead of a lift-off, and there’d be a wheel plus a Tesla logo rolling away from the wreckage.
“Crazy things can come true,” he said. “I didn’t really think this would work — when I see the rocket lift up, I see a thousand things that could not work, and it’s amazing when they do.”
The Falcon Heavy carried Musk’s personal cherry red Tesla Roadster into space, “driven” by Starman, a mannequin wearing a space suit. As CNET reports, at first, there was some talk about sending the electric car to Mars, but it will follow an orbital path around the Sun instead.
The Virtual Telescope Project, which enables real-time internet access to a group of robotic telescopes, will be tracking the Tesla as it continues its space voyage. They published a series of images on Friday of the Roadster as it was spotted by the Tenagra Observatories in Arizona. In the telescope, the cherry red electric car looks almost like a comet sailing across a starry sky.