Hexacopter Drone Watches SpaceX Grasshopper Take Highest Flight Yet

Image of the Grasshopper's 325 meter hop on Jun 23, 2013. Credit: SpaceX.

This is an absolutely awesome view of the latest test flight of the SpaceX Grasshopper. The footage is shot with a camera attached to a hexacopter drone, and provides the closest view yet during a Grasshopper test of the operating rocket stage. During this test, Grasshopper flew to 744 meters (2,440 feet).

Grasshopper is a 10-story Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) vehicle that SpaceX has designed to test the technologies needed to return a rocket back to Earth intact. It consists of a Falcon 9 rocket first stage tank, Merlin 1D engine, four steel and aluminum landing legs with hydraulic dampers, and a steel support structure.

While most rockets are designed to burn up in the atmosphere during reentry, SpaceX’s rockets are being designed to return to the launch pad for a vertical landing. “The Grasshopper VTVL vehicle represents a critical step towards this goal,” says SpaceX.

Sit back and enjoy the ride!