SpaceX’s Grasshopper successfully conducts a 40 meter leap

December 24, 2012 by Chris Bergin

SpaceX’s ambitions of creating a full reusable launch vehicle have taken another step forward via the third – and most ambitious to date – test of their Grasshopper test vehicle. The 40 meter leap into the skies at their test facility in Texas – followed by a stable hover and smooth landing – was conducted without a hitch.

Grasshopper:

The Grasshopper – consisting of a Falcon 9 rocket first stage, Merlin 1D engine, four steel landing legs with hydraulic dampers, and a steel support structure – is aiming to blaze a trail towards what many people think is a near-impossible task, to create the world’s first fully reusable orbital launch system.

The plan revolves around a modified version of the Falcon 9 launch vehicle design, creating a version of the flyback booster concept – one where all of the vehicle’s components return back to Earth for reuse.

Via plans unveiled by SpaceX founder and chief executive Elon Musk, the first and second stages that would fly back to the launch site under their own power. With Dragon already a spacecraft that has proven it can launch, fly in space and return safely, the ultimate goal is to drive down costs by reusing every element of their launch system.

Read more: SpaceX’s Grasshopper successfully conducts a 40 meter leap | NASA Space Flight.

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