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Monday, December 24, 2012

SpaceX's Grasshopper Takes Leap Toward Full and Rapid Rocket Reusability


SpaceX's Grasshopper takes a 12-story leap towards full and rapid rocket reusability in a test flight conducted December 17, 2012 at SpaceX's rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.
 
Grasshopper, a vertical takeoff and landing vehicle (VTVL), rose 131 feet (40 meters), hovered and landed safely on the pad using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control. The total test duration was 29 seconds. The rocket even had a dummy 6' cowboy aboard to add persepctive, according to The Blaze.

Grasshopper stands 10 stories tall and consists of a Falcon 9 rocket first stage, Merlin 1D engine, four steel landing legs with hydraulic dampers, and a steel support structure.

SpaceX continues to make affirmative steps toward the first reusable rocket, estimated to cut spaceflight costs 100-fold by Elon Musk. Testing will continue through 2013.

Space Cowboy, a 6' dummy went along for the rocket ride.

Animation of the first fully reusable rocket.

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