A rocket launch can be awe-inspiring for humans … but maybe not for cows.
In a new Grasshopper rocket test flight video released Sunday (Sept. 8) by the private spaceflight company SpaceX, a herd of cows can be seen running for the hills, seemingly in fear of the firm's Grasshopper rocket taking off and landing in the background.
The spooked cattle run through the shot about 15 seconds in, as the Grasshopper rocket — an experimental reusable rocket — is climbing high into the sky.
"No cows were injured during the making of this video," SpaceX officials wrote in a tongue-in-cheek video description.
The Grasshopper rocket stands about 10 stories tall and is a prototype for a new kind of launch system designed around reusable rockets.
The amusing video was recorded on Aug. 13, during an impressive Grasshopper "divert" test flight in which the rocket flew 820 feet (250 meters) into the air. Grasshopper then hovered, moved 328 feet (100 m) sideways, and landed back at the center of the launch pad in McGregor, Texas, SpaceX's proving grounds.
"Diverts like this are an important part of the trajectory in order to land the rocket precisely back at the launch site after re-entering from space at hypersonic velocity," SpaceX officials said in a statement after the first video of Grasshopper's August flight was released.
For the rocket's highest flight, the Grasshopper flew to an altitude of 1,066 feet (325 m) before setting back down onto its launch pad.
SpaceX's Grasshopper (officially called the Falcon 9 test rig) uses the first-stage tank of the Falcon 9 rocket that launches the company's robotic Dragon capsule to the International Space Station under a $1.6 billion contract with NASA.
Hawthorne, Calif.-based SpaceX has completed two of its contracted 12 cargo runs to the space station for the space agency.