SpaceX Rocket Test Sends Cows on the Moo-ove (Video)

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 reusable Grasshopper rocket built by SpaceX flies on an Aug. 14, 2013 test flight, apparently spooking a herd of cows near the McGregor, Texas, rocket proving grounds. (Image credit: SpaceX)

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.

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Miriam Kramer
Staff Writer

Miriam Kramer joined as a Staff Writer in December 2012. Since then, she has floated in weightlessness on a zero-gravity flight, felt the pull of 4-Gs in a trainer aircraft and watched rockets soar into space from Florida and Virginia. She also served as's lead space entertainment reporter, and enjoys all aspects of space news, astronomy and commercial spaceflight.  Miriam has also presented space stories during live interviews with Fox News and other TV and radio outlets. She originally hails from Knoxville, Tennessee where she and her family would take trips to dark spots on the outskirts of town to watch meteor showers every year. She loves to travel and one day hopes to see the northern lights in person. Miriam is currently a space reporter with Axios, writing the Axios Space newsletter. You can follow Miriam on Twitter.