We watched the June 2013 Grasshopper test when it reached 325m, but this most recent SpaceXvertical takeoff vertical landing (VTVL) vehicle test more than doubled that height, and the close-up shot around the one minute mark is icing on the cake.
On Monday, October 7th, Grasshopper completed its highest leap to date, rising to 744m altitude. The view above is taken from a single camera hexacopter, getting closer to the stage than in any previous flight.
Full screen, volume up! This is SpaceX’s Grasshopper on June 14, 2013, using its state of navigation capabilities to execute a precision hover and landing sequence:
Grasshopper is a 10-story Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) vehicle designed to test the technologies needed to return a rocket back to Earth intact. While most rockets are designed to burn up on atmosphere reentry, SpaceX rockets are being designed not only to withstand reentry, but also to return to the launch pad for a vertical landing. The Grasshopper VTVL vehicle represents a critical step towards this goal.
According to SpaceX CEO Elon Musk, this highly-controllable, reusable rocket technology could significantly cut-costs in space travel.
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.