• Dec 27, 2012
One of the most thrilling aspects of SpaceX's business plan is the reusability of their rockets. Earlier this week SpaceX CEO Elon Musk tweeted pictures and video of their Grasshopper rocket taking a brief test flight and landing. It's quite a spectacular sight to see. For added humor, the Grasshopper was carrying a 6 ft tall cowboy mannequin strapped to the side. The rocket (and inanimate passenger) lifted off above the ground 131 feet, hovered for a few moments, then returned safely to Earth.

The flight is part of the testing phase in the development cycle which started last month. "We've begun testing reusability with something called the Grasshopper Project, which is a Falcon 9 first stage with landing gear that can take off and land vertically," Musk told Wired. "The stages go to orbit, then the first stage turns around, restarts the engines, boosts back to the launch site, reorients, deploys landing gear, and lands vertically."

Again, the idea is to reuse the rockets. By developing rockets that can come back down and land, SpaceX will be able to cut down on resources needed to get off the ground.



[Source: Business Insider]


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 31 Comments
      arenadood
      • 2 Days Ago
      Kind of reminds me of some old Science Fiction space movies. Cool to see.
      conchhorn
      • 2 Days Ago
      131 feet isn't space. Time will tell on this concept.
      floppypawltd
      • 2 Days Ago
      Old a long time ago done in the early 90's by a Pratt & Whitney RL-10 powered rocket by built by Mcdonnell Douglas called the DC-X . It even had retracting landing gear unfortunatly on one test flight one of the gear legs did not extend and it flopped on its side and burned on landing. The rocket itself and the RL-10's worked perfectly. It was all off the shelf items by the way. Program was cancelled by George Bush Sr. who pulled funding from many many experimental programs which caused a massive down turn for American Aviation and as direct result Airbus took the lead from Boeing and put McDonell Douglas, Rockwell and not long after Northrup out of business.
      Mr. Needles Ca.
      • 2 Days Ago
      waste of money.......
        floppypawltd
        • 2 Days Ago
        @Mr. Needles Ca.
        Okay buddy first off you have no clue how expensive it is to throw away stages to get into space. Think of it like this ...you get in your car start the motor drive down the road to a traffic light then when the light changes you leave behind your first motor gas tank wheels tires transmisson everything but the passenger area and drive on with a whole new set of these EACH time you leave a stop or accelerate. Thats pretty much Staging as all rockets work today. A Single Stage to Orbit and Back would be like a car today tottaly reusable except for fuel! Which by the way can be hydrogen and oxygen which when burned are NON polluting all you get out the exhaust is STEAM! Which falls back as rain which can be made into rocket fuel using solar electricity over and over.
      • 2 Days Ago
      how would it be possible when they havent tested for the angle of tragectory the ship has to be for re-entry. NASA wasting more money for deadend projects. keep the design of horizontal landing spacecrafts and we will be fine
        Dave
        • 2 Days Ago
        Again read the article!!! THIS WAS NOT GOVERNMENT FUNDED!!!! Space-x is a private company. Landing from 130 ft is one thing but I also question the ability to land from space or sub-space orbit. The amount of fuel required to land would drastically reduce the payload. I think a landing chute might work better.
      hemipwr54
      • 2 Days Ago
      More rocket pollution, GREAT!
        floppypawltd
        • 2 Days Ago
        @hemipwr54
        It uses hydrogen and oxygen exhaust is WATER in form of STEAM! Zero pollution!
      rebelrick9
      • 2 Days Ago
      Wrong, No one stops to remember the Delta Clipper! Grasshopper is the second one. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JzXcTFfV3Ls
      • 2 Days Ago
      How would this design possible work? if you calculate the angle of tragectory the spacecraft has to be for re-entry, the ship would have to practically nearly stop in midflight to reposition for vertical landing. Just NASA wasting more money for deadend projects. Just stick with the horizontal landing design and everything will be fine.
        buggsym
        • 2 Days Ago
        Hey moron read the story NASA wasn't mentioned SpaceX is a PRIVATE company
        • 2 Days Ago
        Spiritwolfpsn, please read the article more closely. This was not a Nasa project. This is a project of a private company called SpaceX, therefore no taxpayer money was spent on this.
      saksr1of3
      • 2 Days Ago
      Lets get beyond the fossil fuel idea's.
      rebelrick9
      • 2 Days Ago
      WRONG!
      Joebudgie
      • 2 Days Ago
      Nice idea. Now let's see a demo of a vehicle that can carry a meaninful payload, achieve orbit, leave orbit to fly to Mars, land on Mars, take off again, return to earth and land safely at the original launch site. Now that would be an achievement. This demo is just a toy.
      Edward J Cox
      • 2 Days Ago
      What's not stated here is the amount of fuel in this vehicle. In order to do what is mentioned the fuel capacity would be enormous and probably this vehicles engine incapable of lifting it or for that matter returning to launch site a vehicle that was several miles in the air. In order to return the practicality of manuevering thrusters, reorienting the booster to sheer and pure verticle all the while while apporaching the launch site at some speed. This video is showmanship and demonstrates little of practicality or systems that would actually even near the return to launch being sought by lower lift stages.... Nice idea, not practical to implement with far more complexity than shown... Bring back and sdvanced STS program and put the US back into manned spaceflight, not hitchhikers of Russian or even Chinese Boosters.
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