Friday, September 28, 2012
Rise of the Grasshopper... One week ago today, SpaceX tested a Falcon 9 first stage motor that briefly rose 6 feet into the air before touching back down on the ground on four steel landing legs. Taking place at the Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas, the so-called Grasshopper vertical takeoff and landing test vehicle (VTVL) is designed to begin validating the concept of a fully-reusable Falcon 9 rocket that was announced by SpaceX about a year ago. In the coming months, the VTVL tests will become more ambitious...with Grasshopper hovering as high up as 100 feet in the air before landing back on the surface. It remains to be seen when this landing capability will become operational and implemented on actual Falcon 9 flights. Stay tuned.