SpaceX’s Grasshopper flew 325 m (1066 feet) on June 14, before smoothly landing back on the pad. This Grasshopper test rocket made use navigation sensors combined with control flight algorithms to accomplish a precision landing. Traditional rockets are designed for one time use, with the usually crashing back to earth in pieces that takes a cast of thousands, months to collect and recycle. SpaceX plans to change all that, to bring the cost of space travel down to the point where regular consumers can afford it, these rockets need to be reusable. Not only that, but they need to be ready to go again in a matter of hours, not years.
While most rockets are equipped with sensors to determine position, these are generally used for tracking the rocket location, not for a precision landing. Watching the rocket launch, then hover and land again is quite simply stunning.
Grasshopper is a 10-story Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) vehicle designed to test the technologies which represent a critical step forward. Grasshopper consists of a Falcon 9 rocket first stage tank, Merlin 1D engine, four steel and aluminum landing legs with hydraulic dampers, and a steel support structure.
SpaceX is the brain child of crazy man Elon Musk of Tesla fame, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, this guy is a valuable asset to humanity and is changing the world, multiple times.
Check out the video of the rocket launch, hover and vertical landing, again it’s available in stunning 1080p. If your connection needs to buffer at that quality, believe me, it’s worth the wait.