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Waspie_Dwarf

SpaceX: Giant Leap Towards Reusibility

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SPACEX TESTS GRASSHOPPER ROCKET IN TWO-STORY HOP

November 12, 2012

On November 1, 2012, SpaceX's Grasshopper -- a 10-story vertical takeoff and landing (VTVL) vehicle -- lifted nearly two stories in an 8-second duration test hop. The rocket rose 17.7 feet (5.4 meters), hovered, and touched back down safely on the pad at SpaceX's rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.

The Grasshopper program is a critical step toward achieving SpaceX's goal of developing fully and rapidly reusable rockets. With Grasshopper, SpaceX engineers are testing the technology that would allow a launched rocket to land intact, rather than burning up upon reentry to Earth's atmosphere.

20121112grasshopper.jpg

Photo, SpaceX

Grasshopper consists of a Falcon 9 rocket first stage, Merlin 1D engine, four steel landing legs with hydraulic dampers, and a steel support structure. For a sense of its scale, note the blue pick-up truck to the left of Grasshopper in the photo above.

Source: SpaceX Updates

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UPDATES


SPACEX'S GRASSHOPPER TAKES GIANT LEAP TOWARDS REUSABILITY WITH 12-STORY FLIGHT

December 24, 2012

SpaceX's Grasshopper took a 12-story leap towards full and rapid rocket reusability in a test flight conducted December 17, 2012 at SpaceX’s rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.

Grasshopper, SpaceX’s vertical takeoff and landing vehicle (VTVL), rose 131 feet (40 meters), hovered and landed safely on the pad using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control. 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.

The 12-story flight marks a significant increase over the height and length of hover of Grasshopper’s previous test flights, which took place earlier this fall. In September, Grasshopper flew to 1.8 meters (6 feet), and in November, it flew to 5.4 meters (17.7 feet/2 stories) including a brief hover.

Testing of Grasshopper will continue with successively more sophisticated flights expected over the next several months.

20121224grasshopper.jpg

Photo, SpaceX

Source: SpaceX Updates

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It seems that technology is beginning to catch up with decades-old imagination. Images of reusable rockets landing on their tails were common in science fiction illustrations in the 1950's

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Ride-Along View: Grasshopper 12-Story Test Flight 12/17/12

SpaceX's Grasshopper takes a 12-story leap towards full and rapid rocket reusability in a test flight conducted December 17, 2012 at SpaceX's rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas. Grasshopper, a vertical takeoff and landing vehicle (VTVL), rose 131 feet (40 meters), hovered and landed safely on the pad using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control. 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.

Credit: SpaceX

Source: spacexchannel - YouTube

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