In November 2012 SpaceX’s Grasshopper vertical takeoff and landing test vehicle (VTVL) flies nearly two stories (17.7 feet/5.4 meters). Duration was 8 seconds using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control. SpaceX is one of the leaders in private rocket development and is working to develop vehicles that are fully and rapidly reusable. a key element to radically reducing cost and increasing the efficiency of spaceflight. At ten stories tall the Grasshopper test vehicle is composed of a Falcon 9 first stage, a Merlin-1D engine, four steel landing legs. SpaceX will test the vehicle in higher and higher flights as the test program progresses. For more information about SpaceX, visit: http://spacex.com
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(Source SpaceX)– The United States Air Force Space and Missile Systems Center has awarded SpaceX two Evolved Expendable Launch Vehicle (EELV)-class missions: DSCOVR (Deep Space Climate Observatory) and STP-2 (Space Test Program 2). To be launched on SpaceX’s Falcon launch vehicles in 2014 and 2015 respectively, the awards mark the first EELV-class missions awarded to the company to date. “SpaceX deeply appreciates and is honored by the vote of confidence shown by the Air Force in our Falcon launch vehicles,” said Elon Musk, CEO and chief designer, SpaceX. “We look forward to providing high reliability access to space with lift capability to orbit that is substantially greater than any other launch vehicle in the world.” The DSCOVR mission will be launched aboard a Falcon 9 and is currently slated for late 2014, while STP-2 will be launched aboard the Falcon Heavy and is targeted for mid-2015. Both are expected to launch from Space Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Florida. Both missions fall under Orbital/Suborbital Program-3 (OSP-3), an indefinite-delivery/indefinite-quantity contract for the [...]
(Source NASA) — A Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) Dragon spacecraft splashed down in the Pacific Ocean at 2:22 p.m. CDT Sunday a few hundred miles west of Baja California, Mexico. The splashdown successfully ended the first contracted cargo delivery flight contracted by NASA to resupply the International Space Station. “With a big splash in the Pacific Ocean today, we are reminded American ingenuity is alive and well and keeping our great nation at the cutting edge of innovation and technology development,” NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said. “Just a little over one year after we retired the Space Shuttle, we have completed the first cargo resupply mission to the International Space Station. Not with a government owned and operated system, but rather with one built by a private firm — an American company that is creating jobs and helping keep the U.S. the world leader in space as we transition to the next exciting chapter in exploration. Congratulations to SpaceX and the NASA team that supported them and made this historic mission possible.” The Dragon capsule [...]