(Image source: SpaceX / YouTube)

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN
ANCHOR NEVILLE MILLER


Pioneering space company SpaceX is looking to achieve what’s been a dream of space exploration for decades: cheap, reusable launch vehicles. This month, they came a little closer to their goal.

 

“The company SpaceX launching a successful test flight of its Grasshopper rocket. After launch it actually hovers in the air, as it is doing right now, and then lands vertically.” (Video via CNN)

 

The Grasshopper is a prototype first stage which SpaceX hopes will eventually save them money launching their Falcon rocket. A writer for Forbes explains how.

 

“One of the things that makes space travel so expensive is the fact that rockets, for the most part, can’t be reused. So everytime you launch something into orbit, you have to rebuild part of the vehicle.”

 

So a reusable rocket stage would take quite a bit of pressure off of SpaceX’s budget. NASA’s space shuttle program was meant to tackle that same problem. But it took months to prep the shuttles for launch and the cost savings never materialized. 

 

SpaceX founder Elon Musk thinks his company’s Grasshopper is up to the task.

 

Grasshopper took its first hop back in September, lifting just a few feet off the ground. Then followed that up with a 17-foot jump in early November. The latest launch took Grasshopper up 131 feet, where it hovered for several seconds.


Plus... there was a cowboy mannequin on board for some reason. (Via @elonmusk / Twitter)


Musk says the company will continue to gradually ramp up flight times and altitude. The eventual goal is for the entire Falcon rocket, including both stages and the orbiter, to end each mission right back where they started.

SpaceX Tests Reusable 'Grasshopper' Rocket

by Steven Sparkman
0
Transcript
Dec 26, 2012

SpaceX Tests Reusable 'Grasshopper' Rocket

 

(Image source: SpaceX / YouTube)

BY STEVEN SPARKMAN
ANCHOR NEVILLE MILLER


Pioneering space company SpaceX is looking to achieve what’s been a dream of space exploration for decades: cheap, reusable launch vehicles. This month, they came a little closer to their goal.

 

“The company SpaceX launching a successful test flight of its Grasshopper rocket. After launch it actually hovers in the air, as it is doing right now, and then lands vertically.” (Video via CNN)

 

The Grasshopper is a prototype first stage which SpaceX hopes will eventually save them money launching their Falcon rocket. A writer for Forbes explains how.

 

“One of the things that makes space travel so expensive is the fact that rockets, for the most part, can’t be reused. So everytime you launch something into orbit, you have to rebuild part of the vehicle.”

 

So a reusable rocket stage would take quite a bit of pressure off of SpaceX’s budget. NASA’s space shuttle program was meant to tackle that same problem. But it took months to prep the shuttles for launch and the cost savings never materialized. 

 

SpaceX founder Elon Musk thinks his company’s Grasshopper is up to the task.

 

Grasshopper took its first hop back in September, lifting just a few feet off the ground. Then followed that up with a 17-foot jump in early November. The latest launch took Grasshopper up 131 feet, where it hovered for several seconds.


Plus... there was a cowboy mannequin on board for some reason. (Via @elonmusk / Twitter)


Musk says the company will continue to gradually ramp up flight times and altitude. The eventual goal is for the entire Falcon rocket, including both stages and the orbiter, to end each mission right back where they started.

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