(Photo : SpaceX)
As space technology in the United States is increasingly taking a market swing towards the private sector, well-known NASA compatriot SpaceX has just demonstrated another feat free of government intervention - a rocket that has is reusable after a leap into the skies.
Dubbed the "Grasshopper," the rocket was launched 24 stories (262.8 feet) into the air before navigating a landing so that it can be reused.
"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," reads a press release from the company.
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You can watch a video of the launch straight off SpaceX's website.
And this is no easy feat. The Grasshopper rocket stands at 10 stories tall, and providing that kind of piece of machinery with the logistics to be reused is something SpaceX will surely tout in the coming years of NASA budgetary constraints.
The flight marks the fourth test of the Grasshopper, which has previously risen to heights of 8.2 feet, 17.7 feet, and 131 feet.
According to SpaceX, "Grasshopper 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."
Now that NASA has retired its space shuttle fleet, the technology and ideas behind a reusable vertical and takeoff and landing vehicle should be quite the catch. Let's hope that it can help spur more missions since it requires less overhead.