Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Latest SpaceX Grasshopper Flight...

I've been following along for some time, SpaceX's progress with their vertical takeoff and landing rocket program dubbed "Grasshopper".  I own stock in SpaceX's primary publicly traded competitor, Orbital, but this is another big step in the right direction for SpaceX and will end up offering something no one else in the world can do.

As it stands now SpaceX is the sole delivery agent for NASA to the ISS.  Orbital launched its own rocket this past weekend in a near end stage test and should have its own rocket ready to deliver cargo to the ISS by year end.  Even after this SpaceX's system will be the only one able to bring stuff BACK from the ISS as Orbital's system burns up upon reentry.  With Grasshopper SpaceX takes things one step further.  Grasshopper will be able to eliminate recovery costs by landing on its own or similar landing pad and make the entire system reusable vs. just the cargo pod.

Video here of last week's Grasshopper test in which the rocket now ascends to 250 meters and lands perfectly on its pad. They seem to be quadrupling the height of each test and I would expect the next one to reach 1000 meters.

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