Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Space Transportation Science Technology

SpaceX's Grasshopper VTVL Finally Jumps Its Own Height 111

cylonlover writes "The SpaceX Grasshopper vertical takeoff vertical landing (VTVL) testbed has successfully flown to a height of 40 meters (131 ft), hovered for a bit and subsequently landed in a picture perfect test on December 17, 2012. The Grasshopper had previously taken two hops to less than 6 m (20 ft) in height, but the latest test was the first that saw it reach an altitude taller than the rocket itself, which is a modified Falcon 9 orbital launch vehicle. The flight lasted 29 seconds from launch to landing, and carried a 1.8 m (6 ft) cowboy dummy to give an indication of scale."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

SpaceX's Grasshopper VTVL Finally Jumps Its Own Height

Comments Filter:
  • by moniker127 ( 1290002 ) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @10:57AM (#42403675)
    They haven't had any failures since the advent of the falcon 9 rocket. The first three falcon launches failed, and if the fourth hadn't worked, spaceX would've folded. Luckily, the fourth did work, and they learned a lot from it. (mostly that 9 > 1)
  • by milgram ( 104453 ) on Thursday December 27, 2012 @11:34AM (#42403919)

    While I agree with the direction of the evolution of the programs, I don't think it is a fair comparison to define the cost of the Space Shuttle launch as the total program cost divided by the number of launches. Much of the technology and information Falcon is using is based upon the research done to achieve the Shuttle program.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2012 @11:41AM (#42403975)

    While the general tenor of your computation is in the right direction, you're not even closed to calculating the costs fairly. You're not being very rigorous with separating out capital vs operating expenditures. You are hitting shuttle launches with a share of all the development and infrastructure costs, but left that out for SpaceX.

    But yes, the *incremental* cost of another shuttle launch is in the 500M range, which is still pretty pricey on a $/kg to orbit.

    There are some aspects you've also sort of glossed over: Shuttle is a terrible way to get to GTO, so comparing GTO payload capacity isn't a good metric. Shuttle has the same 3000kg "downmass" capabilty, too, which I don't think F9 or GH have. If you want to bring things back for repair and refurbishment, that's a useful thing to have. Or, you could treat space like remote islands in the Aleutians.. never take anything back, and just dump the old stuff in an ever increasing pile out back for the amusement of workers on their time off.

    That said, I think cheap expendable rockets like F9 are really the way to go for the immediate future.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday December 27, 2012 @02:18PM (#42405163)

    We weren't doing massive VTVL space rockets in the 50's. And maybe the armchair know-it-alls should just build their own space rockets if it's as easy as picking up a dusty set of blueprints.

    The arrogance and delusion is just astounding.

The party adjourned to a hot tub, yes. Fully clothed, I might add. -- IBM employee, testifying in California State Supreme Court