Failure IS an Option

Failure IS an Option

Paige Bomhof

On December 9, at 5:45pm SpaceX’s starship launched on a test flight. Just six minutes later, Starship exploded while attempting to land on the launch pad in Boca Chica, Texas. After the unsuccessful landing, the face behind Starship, Elon Musk, tweeted out, “Mars here we come.” 

   Many assumed that after Starship blew up and disappeared in a ball of fire, Musk would be disappointed in the launch, yet he found December 9 to be a success. 

  It’s no secret that failure holds people back. Don’t want to do that math assignment until you know you’ll get all of it correct? Don’t want to take an AP class because you believe you won’t get at least a 3 on the exam? Don’t want to start an art project because you don’t think it will turn out well? Or don’t want to try out for a sport because you don’t think you’ll make it?

   Nobody likes failure. But it is really a part of life. SpaceX teaches us that failure is a key to success. Starship blowing up was not the first explosion for SpaceX. Before any Starship explosions (this one was not the first one), SpaceX was working on their Falcon 9 rocket.

   Elon Musk, billionaire and CEO of SpaceX, had the idea of making his rockets more reusable by propulsively landing the first stage on a drone ship in the middle of the ocean or on a landing pad on land. Many critics deemed this goal impossible.

   Musk and SpaceX didn’t care. They set out, tested, flew, failed, and repeated. Until December 21, 2015, SpaceX achieved the impossible. SpaceX did the equivalent of dropping a pencil from the top of the Empire State Building and having it land on its tip. 

  This was not easy. Before the first successful landing, there were many amazing explosions, some of which can be found on YouTube in a SpaceX video titled: How Not to Land an Orbital Rocket Booster. SpaceX’s Starship has also had its fair share of explosions. Many have exploded, and each time SpaceX has learned a valuable lesson. 

   “Failure is an option here. If things are not failing you are not innovating enough.” Musk said. Elon and SpaceX sure live this out daily. Always pushing the limits and achieving new things, because of their past failures.

   And the coolest part about all this? West Ottawa students can do it, too. It’s ok to fail. Figuring out where it went wrong will only make you smarter, and more prepared for the future. It is really only a failure if you don’t learn anything!

   SpaceX shows us that failure is an option, failure is an opportunity to learn a lot! So go ahead, take that AP class, try out for that sport, finish that art project. Who knows? If you fail, you just may learn something that will make you a better athlete, student, or artist.