SpaceX recently released video of the latest test of their Grasshopper Vertical Take Off and Landing Vehicle, where it rose 40 meters (131 feet), hovered and landed safely on the pad using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control.
The test flight took place on December 17, 2012 at SpaceX’s rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas. The goal of Grasshopper is to eventually create a reusable first stage for SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket, which would be able to land safely instead of falling back into the ocean and not being usable again.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk Tweeted that they strapped a 6-ft (2 meter) cowboy dummy to the side of the rocket “to provide a little perspective on the size of Grasshopper.”
See the pictures below:
SpaceX said the total test duration was 29 seconds. Grasshopper stands 10 stories tall and consists of a Falcon 9 rocket first stage, Merlin 1D engine, four steel landing legs with hydraulic dampers, and a steel support structure.
Cowboy dummy riding on the SpaceX Grasshopper. Via Elon Musk
“Cowboy riding the rocket no problemo,” Tweeted Elon Musk
Artist’s rendering of the SpaceX Grasshopper’s vertical landing. Credit: SpaceX
Nancy Atkinson is currently Universe Today’s Contributing Editor. Previously she served as UT’s Senior Editor and lead writer, and has worked with Astronomy Cast and 365 Days of Astronomy. Nancy is the author of the new book “Incredible Stories from Space: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Missions Changing Our View of the Cosmos.” She is also a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador.