Grasshopper Successfully Completes 80M Hover Slam
Thursday, March 7, 2013, SpaceX’s Grasshopper doubled its highest leap
to date to rise 24 stories or 80.1 meters (262.8 feet), hovering for
approximately 34 seconds and landing safely using closed loop thrust
vector and throttle control. Grasshopper touched down with its most
accurate precision thus far on the centermost part of the launch pad. At
touchdown, the thrust to weight ratio of the vehicle was greater than
one, proving a key landing algorithm for Falcon 9. The test was
completed at SpaceX’s rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.
SpaceX’s vertical and takeoff and landing (VTVL) vehicle, continues
SpaceX’s work toward one of its key goals – developing fully and rapidly
reusable rockets, a feat that will transform space exploration by
radically reducing its cost. With Grasshopper, SpaceX engineers are
testing the technology that would enable a launched rocket to land
intact, rather than burning up upon reentry to the Earth’s atmosphere.
is Grasshopper’s fourth in a series of test flights, with each test
demonstrating exponential increases in altitude. Last September,
Grasshopper flew to 2.5 meters (8.2 feet), in November, it flew to 5.4
meters (17.7 feet) and in December, it flew to 40 meters (131 feet).
stands 10 stories tall and 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.