MCGREGOR (September 27, 2012)—SpaceX’s Grasshopper vertical takeoff and landing test vehicle has taken its first test flight at the company’s rocket testing facility in McGregor.
The short hop of about 6 feet on Sept. 21 is a major milestone in the company’s effort to develop a reusable first stage for the proven SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
The Grasshopper consists of a Falcon 9 first stage, a Merlin-1D engine, four steel landing legs and a steel support structure.
“SpaceX is working to develop vehicles that are fully and rapidly reusable, a key element to radically reducing cost and increasing the efficiency of spaceflight,” the company said in a press release.
The goal of the next test in several months is for the Grasshopper to hover at a height of about 100 feet.