A Closer Look at SpaceX’s Grasshopper

Comments

Grasshopper on the pad in Texas. (Credit: SpaceX)

SpaceX PR — 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.

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.

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.

  • Paul451

    World’s angriest grain silo.

  • http://cosmic.lifeform.org Thomas Lee Elifritz

    It’s the robotic stir friction welding of the built up hoops, stingers and braces eliminating the terribly inefficient and wasteful solid plate milling, as well as the single piece spin forming of the domes that makes these extremely structurally efficient structural flight articles possible. This has been a long time coming.

    Perhaps Mike Puckett would like to comment on these easily predicted developments.

  • http://cosmic.lifeform.org Thomas Lee Elifritz

    I’m also surprised they haven’t painted in some JAWS on the top of it yet, like what was done on some of the second generation WWII fighter planes – just to keep the competition on the edge of their seats and on the tips of their toes watching.