SpaceX’s Grasshopper flies again

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.

9 comments to SpaceX’s Grasshopper flies again

  • “Onwards and upwards… oh yes and back down again.”

    For fear of being proven horribly wrong, I can only imagine this was and I use this expression wisely “a routine” test flight without incident.

    If there was an incident leaving a smouldering crater, I think the world’s free press would have been all droning on by now, alarming the public!

    Perhaps the new SpaceX Grasshopper motto should read “Keep calm and carry on” as used in Britain during World War Two.

    Strangely enough Mr. Musk is reported as saying he fully expected one of the Grasshopper tests to result in a crater. I hope it is’nt where somebody lived.

  • KevinH

    It took 3 tries for him to get to orbit; he is not investing blindly. He will do what he sets out to do; but he needs to make whatever it is commercially viable. We know we can go to space, he is not the kind of person who wants to be rememebered for his folly…

  • Hi Kevin,

    I’m sure you will agree Elon Musk appears to be constantly under the spotlight of the World’s media.

    Sadly I may have repeated a comment taken seriously by a reporter who hasn’t realised yet that Mr. Musk happens to have a good sense of humour.

    I think that now is a crucial time for SpaceX and he needs to have a laugh once in a while for for his own sanity (and his employees). How else could he keep up with his workload…

    1. The current Dragon mission.
    2. Grasshopper tests
    3. Investing time and money in a new launch site Texas or where ever
    4. Developing to launch Falcon Heavy in 2013
    5. Super Dragon (man/woman rated)development
    6. MCT whatever it is.
    7. Stuff we don’t know about yet.

    I apologise if I have given you the wrong impression.

  • Steve

    I agree with Stuart. But I would like to emphasize that the press, especially the mass media outlets, MUST become much more informative and constructive. I agree that when there is a test that encounters an anomaly and perhaps makes a crater (on SpaceX property) I predict the press headline will be FAILURE, DOES THIS MEAN THE END OF COMMERCIAL SPACE?. This is pathetically and dramatically wrong and misleading. The headline should read ANOMALY, SPACEX WILL LEARN MUCH FROM THIS TEST. They should actually understand the English language and hear the word “test”. I wish the press would become a benefit to our society like they have been in the past. Instead of being like a fireman ready to inform folks and guide them from danger when there is a fire, the press is like the man in the theater who yells “fire” when one doesn’t even exist just to get attention. Bottom line, I wish the press would be and act more intelligent. But we will see when SpaceX does experience a significant anomaly in the Grasshopper tests, which I believe has a good probability given the complexity, how the press reacts. Hopefully I am wrong.

  • Aresia

    Mars is the prize and Musk has his eyes on the prize. He’s a driven man because he knows if he achieves his objective he will go down in history as one of the great seers of humanity who found the way to our second planetary home, an achievement to match the neolithic revolution, the invention of printing and the industrial revolution.

  • Jim

    The best Grasshopper motto I can come up with is “Don’t Panic.”

  • Stuart

    Jim, I still prefer…

    “Onwards and upwards… oh yes and back down again.”

  • Stuart

    Although as a member of the British Interplanetary Society I do like their motto. I feel SpaceX should approach them with a view to adopting it…

    “From Imagination to Reality”.

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