SpaceX has taken another step towards privatized space travel by once again successfully launching and landing Grasshopper, a reusable Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) rocket. The rocket flew to a height of 1066 feet, more than 200 feet higher than previous attempts. Though the test took place last month, SpaceX kept it under wraps until they released a video last week on their YouTube channel.
According to SpaceX, in the past, "Grasshopper tests relied on the other rocket sensors but for this test, an additional, higher accuracy sensor was in the control loop. In other words, SpaceX was directly controlling the vehicle based on new sensor readings, adding a new level of accuracy in sensing the distance between Grasshopper and the ground, enabling a more precise landing."
This video shows the rocket reaching its goal altitude, then slowly descending, eventually settling back onto the Launchpad.
The successful launch and landing of the ten-story rocket brings SpaceX closer to CEO Elon Musk's goal of cutting the cost of space travel by 90%.