So competitive, in fact, that if they could they’d probably stage a real-world drag race between their rockets to see which one is best. But since they can’t, we’ll have to make do with an imagined, but not less spectacular version of such an event, put together earlier this week by animation specialist Hazegrayart.
No less than nine rockets have been lined up on a digital launch platform for the drag race to the sky. Lined up from smallest to biggest, they have been chosen by Hazegrayart because they are reusable rockets that can run on methane (or liquefied natural gas), the new star fuel of space exploration.
First in line is the Stoke Space hardware, a rocket that’s yet to prove itself in an actual mission but will soon do so from the Launch Complex 14 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. Next up is the Themis, a piece of equipment that theoretically could take flight as soon as this year and put Europe on the map for having access to its own reusable rocket.
Third in line comes the Terran I, a rocket developed by Relativity Space which was scheduled to lift off earlier this week in its inaugural flight, but didn't. The Rocket Lab Neutron is fourth.
It’s the upcoming heavyweights of the rocket industry that come last, names we’re all so used to hearing these days: the United Launch Alliance Vulcan Centaur, the Blue Origin New Glenn, and of course, the ultimate star of this industry, the SpaceX Starship.
It’s important to note that none of these rockets have taken their maiden flights yet, so this short, 4-minute video is not only the first time we see the rockets fly together, but the first time we see them fly, period, even if in animated form.
All nine rockets take off at the same time, and as they climb to separation altitude they look to me like the fleet of colonial ships from Battlestar Galactica, clustered together as they try to escape the aggressive cylons.
An impressive sight, for sure, made even more so by the boosters of some of these rockets as they come down to land in sync…