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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 91TTZ on 12/26/2012 1:50:10 PM , Rating: 3
Creative people have been fighting this very battle for thousands of years. Some rational person always says its impossible, but it isn't. Improbable? Yes, but not impossible. Human history is filled with improbable leaps in technology.

I disagree with this viewpoint. You're thinking about it backwards. These things are not invented by chance or by dreamers. They're invented by scientific types who understand the underlying principles. It's not the rational person who is saying it's impossible; it's the irrational person who simply doesn't understand the subject material.

When I read about Goddard's experiments with rockets it quickly became apparent to him which forces were at work. Most non-scientific people did not understand the forces at work. When he claimed that a rocket could fly in outer space he wasn't making a bold statement, he was simply stating a fact about the forces of rocket propulsion, namely that rockets move by accelerating a mass of gases out of the nozzle. Most laymen thought that rockets worked by forcing out thrust that pushed against the air in the atmosphere, and in outer space there would be no air to push against. Therefore, Goddard received some public criticism about his claims that rockets could travel in space. But those weren't remarks by rational thinkers, they were remarks by clueless non-scientific people.

In this case, the science behind staged rockets is well understood. Rockets are routinely launched into space on disposable staged rockets and some of them are fairly cheap. For instance, we'd loft things up on the Space Shuttle and it would cost almost a billion dollars while the Russians could loft the same object up for a fraction of the cost on a disposable rocket.

By fragemall on 12/28/2012 11:55:41 PM , Rating: 2
I agree with your viewpoint. That being Said I urge everyone to view this BBC documentary and in case you are interested, read further about the physics...
BBC Documentary - The Three rocketeers
Only then will u understand how rudimentary a rocket actually is. And how archaic this technology is. And how this can never bring down the cost of taking cargo to orbit. You will also stop exalting Mr. Elon Musk who rather than a dreamer is a very good business man. He can make money out of selling to the people and government a proven but archaic technology.....

What do I Know... All the ignorant people (who do not know better) and the government (who will not fund space research) will make Mr Musk a billionaire...Maybe that's capitalism...

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