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Tuesday, December 25, 2012

A faux cowboy is placed above one of the Grasshopper's landing legs to convey the size of the test vehicle.
SpaceX

MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERYONE! Just thought I'd share these great photos (and the official video) of SpaceX's Grasshopper rocket as it was being prepped for a flight demonstration that saw it soaring around 131 feet (40 meters) above the ground in McGregor, Texas on December 17. Known as the vertical takeoff and landing test vehicle (VTVL), the Grasshopper is intended to validate the feasibility of a Falcon 9's first stage motor safely returning to Earth and touching back down on the surface following a launch into space. The first stage motor, like those of other rockets such as the Atlas V, is usually discarded in low-Earth orbit more than 8 minutes after lift-off...becoming space junk. The Grasshopper conducted its first demonstration on September 28.

The Grasshopper is prepped for another test at SpaceX's Rocket Development Facility in McGregor, Texas...on November 7, 2012.
SpaceX

The Falcon 9's first stage motor hovers 131 feet (40 meters) above the ground in McGregor, Texas...on December 17, 2012.
SpaceX

Check out the official video:

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