This video shows SpaceX Grasshopper completing a test flight to an altitude of 744 meters on Monday, October 7th. After reaching the designated altitude it safely returned to the launch pad for a soft landing under rocket power. The video of this flight was taken from a drone helicopter and is very impressive, almost looking like it was computer generated. The test lasted 78.8 seconds and was conducted at SpaceX’s rocket development facility in McGregor, TX.
SpaceX intends to use this technology to safely return the rockets and reuse them over and over again after delivering payloads into orbit.
Grasshopper is a 10-story Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) vehicle designed to test the technologies needed to return a rocket back to Earth intact. While most rockets are designed to burn up on atmosphere reentry, SpaceX rockets are being designed not only to withstand reentry, but also to return to the launch pad for a vertical landing. The Grasshopper VTVL vehicle represents a critical step towards this goal.
Read: SpaceX rocket hovers 80 meters, but is it a good idea?