Falcon 9 Reusable Takes its Second Flight Test

by Nancy Atkinson on May 2, 2014

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No cows were harmed in the making of this video! SpaceX has released a video of a second test light of the Falcon 9 Reusable (FR9), and this time the rocket reached 1,000 meters – quadrupling its height from its previous test (see previous test flight below) — before returning to land softly.

The Falcon 9-R during a 10-second test in June 2013. Credit: Elon Musk on Twitter

The Falcon 9-R during a 10-second test in June 2013. Credit: Elon Musk on Twitter


From SpaceX: “The F9R testing program is the next step towards reusability following completion of the Grasshopper program last year. Future testing, including that in New Mexico, will be conducted using the first stage of a F9R as shown here, which is essentially a Falcon 9 v1.1 first stage with legs. F9R test flights in New Mexico will allow us to test at higher altitudes than we are permitted for at our test site in Texas, to do more with unpowered guidance and to prove out landing cases that are more-flight like.”

SpaceX has said that these first flights of F9R will have the landing legs fixed in the down position, but soon future tests will have the legs stowed against the side of the rocket and then extending them just before landing.

Here’s the first flight test:

About 

Nancy Atkinson is Universe Today's Senior Editor. She also is the host of the NASA Lunar Science Institute podcast and works with Astronomy Cast. Nancy is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.

AlfaCentavra May 2, 2014 at 12:12 PM

When were second test flight made?

ioconnor May 3, 2014 at 8:57 AM

2014-05-01

Chickstick May 2, 2014 at 4:33 PM

It almost looks like the legs are on fire…

Aqua4U May 5, 2014 at 12:35 PM

Yes.. noticed on earlier Grasshopper flights too. Apparently not a problemo? Paint burning off? Noted here the recent Spaceship II flight tests where the insides of the tail booms were ‘silverized/aluminized’ or coated with a mirror like surface to reflect rocket exhaust heating.

ioconnor May 3, 2014 at 8:58 AM

Are the objectives of these test flights available to the public?

Aqua4U May 5, 2014 at 12:37 PM

This version appears to use only one Merlin Engine, rather than the nine engines used on a full up booster – more like the Grasshopper with a bigger fuel reserve?

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