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LAUNCH PAD
Grasshopper Successfully Completes 80M Hover Slam
by Staff Writers
McGregor TX (SPX) Mar 13, 2013


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.

On 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.

Grasshopper, 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.

This 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).

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.

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Austin, Texas (UPI) Mar 9, 2013
SpaceX founder Elon Musk told the crowd at the South by Southwest festival in Texas Saturday said he'd like to fly to Mars before he dies. "I'd like to die on Mars, just not on impact," he said. The 41-year-old, South African-born American entrepreneur, who also co-founded Tesla Motors and PayPal, said it would be his life's biggest disappointment if someone doesn't make it to th ... read more


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