The first test of the SpaceX Grasshopper at the company's facility in McGregor. (SpaceX photo)
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.