Grasshopper, the reusable launch vehicle (RLV) technology demonstrator developed by SpaceX, made its fourth flight on Thursday, according to government records. The list of flights performed under experimental permits issued by the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation now includes a flight on Thursday, March 7, by Grasshopper from SpaceX’s test site near McGregor, Texas. The entry offers no technical details about the flight other than it was a vertical takeoff and landing flight.
SpaceX developed Grasshopper to test technologies it plans to incorporate into a future reusable version of the Falcon 9. The vehicle is a Falcon 9 first stage with a single Merlin engine and fitted with landing legs. The vehicle last flew in December, flying to an altitude of 40 meters and staying airborne for 29 seconds. SpaceX previously flew Grasshopper in September and November.
A SpaceX spokesperson did not respond to a request for information about the flight on Friday afternoon. In December, the company waited nearly a week after the successful test flight before releasing videos of the flight and other information.