Via my friend Clark Lindsey over at HobbySpace comes some rather startling news:
SpaceX is developing an 106-foot tall reusable vertical takeoff and vertical landing (VTVL) rocket called Grasshopper based upon the first stage of the Falcon 9 rocket. It has applied for an experimental permit to conduct a series of flights up to 11,500 feet at its engine testing facility in McGregor, Texas.
Here’s the description of the vehicle and its flight profile from a draft environmental impact assessment released by the FAA earlier this week:
The Grasshopper RLV consists of a Falcon 9 Stage 1 tank, a Merlin-1D engine, four steel landing legs, and a steel support structure. Carbon overwrapped pressure vessels (COPVs), which are filled with either nitrogen or helium, are attached to the support structure. The Merlin-1D engine has a maximum thrust of 122,000 pounds. The overall height of the Grasshopper RLV is 106 feet, and the tank height is 85 feet.