SpaceX Shows Off "Grasshopper Project" for Reusable Rockets
December 26, 2012 8:38 AM
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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.
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this is nothing new
12/29/2012 12:55:49 AM
the DC-X did this 20 years ago, and in fact flew around and higher and landed in a different spot.
RE: this is nothing new
1/1/2013 2:26:32 PM
Blue Origin employs quite a few engineers and technicians from that project. They've been working along similar lines, and exceeding the
Grasshopper performance for over a year now, just more secretively:
"If you look at the last five years, if you look at what major innovations have occurred in computing technology, every single one of them came from AMD. Not a single innovation came from Intel." -- AMD CEO Hector Ruiz in 2007
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