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The Grasshopper Project is a Falcon first stage with a landing gear that's capable of taking off and landing vertically

SpaceX is undoubtedly the rockstar of U.S. space travel, and now, the company is taking its commitment to innovation to a whole new level.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk is currently testing what is called the Grasshopper Project, which is a major breakthrough in rocket reusability.

The Grasshopper Project is a Falcon first stage with a landing gear that's capable of taking off and landing vertically. It does this by shooting into orbit, turning around, restarting the engine, heading back to the launch site, changing its direction and deploying the landing gear. The end result is a vertical landing.

Check out this video of the Grasshopper Project in action:


After NASA retired its space shuttle fleet (Discovery, Endeavour and Atlantis shuttles) throughout 2011, SpaceX stepped in as the first private company to ship supplies to the International Space Station (ISS).

SpaceX flew its Dragon capsule and Falcon 9 rocket to the ISS for the first time back in May for a test supply run. After that successful trip, SpaceX and NASA signed a $1.6 billion contract that allows SpaceX to complete 12 supply trips to the ISS and back.

On October 7, SpaceX made its first official supply run as part of that contract. It arrived October 10. The mission was a success.

Dragon is due to make its second run in January 2013. SpaceX is also looking to send the first manned Dragon capsule to the ISS somewhere between 2015 and 2017.

Source: Business Insider



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By NellyFromMA on 12/26/2012 1:21:01 PM , Rating: 3
Why would a commercial industry endevour to solve a problem that you so easily conclude is in vain? Idk, seeing as how SpaceX has had major successes recently in the field, I think I'll give them the benfit of the doubt. It's only in their best interests to solve this issue.

I applaud them for taking up the big challenges. All worthy points you've noted, I just think deeming it a lost cause is akin to not making the next big breakthrough. Maybe you're right, but it seems logical for them to try to achieve this. They seem well on their way.


By 91TTZ on 12/26/2012 4:37:21 PM , Rating: 2
I also applaud them for trying, especially since the R&D is on their dime not mine. It would be great if they can pull it off.


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