SpaceX Grasshopper vertical takeoff and landing vehicle goes for a little hop
By Eric Mack
September 26, 2012
SpaceX's Falcon rocket has proven that it can fly, and now the private space transport company's Grasshopper is proving that it can hop. The vertical takeoff and landing test vehicle is part of a reusable first stage for Falcon 9 that's being developed by SpaceX to cut down on the cost of missions to space. On Friday, the Grasshopper took its first tiny test flight.
While it's a bit hard to see with all the smoke and debris from the blast in the way, the below video from SpaceX shows the Grasshopper, which consists of a Falcon 9 rocket, a Merlin-1D engine, four steel landing legs, and a steel support structure, taking a 6-foot high hop.
SpaceX says the next goal for the Grasshopper is to be able to hover at roughly 100 feet sometime in the next several months.
Meanwhile, SpaceX is planning a launch on October 5 for the first contracted cargo resupply flight to the International Space Station.
Watch in the video just before the the blast of smoke covers the camera for the Grasshopper leaping upward: