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Wed, Apr 24, 2013

SpaceX Grasshopper Hovers At Over 800 Feet

VTOL Rocket Returns To Its Exact Spot On The Launch/Landing Pad

SpaceX has released a new video showing another successful flight of its Grasshopper VTOL vehicle. And every time the fly the rocket, they go exponentially higher. On March 7, the Grasshopper flew to 262 feet. This latest leap topped out at 820, or triple the previous altitude, according to SpaceX.

Grasshopper hovered, standing on its plume of flame, for a few seconds before making a controlled descent back to the pad from which it had launched less than a minute previously. It touched down gently, and the flame extinguished. SpaceX has not yet released detailed data from the flight.

Grasshopper, SpaceX’s vertical takeoff and landing (VTVL) vehicle, continues SpaceX’s work toward one of its key goals – developing fully and rapidly reusable rockets, a feat that will transform space exploration by radically reducing its cost. With Grasshopper, SpaceX engineers are testing the technology that would enable a launched rocket to land intact, rather than burning up upon reentry to the Earth’s atmosphere.

This marks the fifth Grasshopper test flight. In addition to the March 7 test, the vehicle flew to 8.2 feet last September; in November, it flew to 17.7 feet; and in December, it flew to 131 feet.

(Image captured from SpaceX YouTube video)



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