It's delightful to see a rocket land on its tail, the way SF always told us they should. I'm not sure it's practical, but if nothing else it's a great exercise in developing finer control over the engine.
Pity there's no excuse to give it fins too.
(Who was it who first described a rocket engine as "a continuous explosion"?)
I really like to see this Grasshopper videos . But I would like to share a tought.
In this video the rocket reaches 744m , but eventually it should reach orbit, at 160km .
Would you like to see a video of me preparing for Olympic's High Jump, and jumping the bar at 1cm ??
That analogy's missing some important details. It's more like: Would you like to see me, a 0.4mm high human, while training for the Olympic High Jump, jump over a 1cm high bar (that's 25 times my own height!), land on tip-toe on a target only 0.8mm wide? Oh, and also: all previous high jumpers - regardless of size - have been killed and/or incinerated after their first attempt.
With that in mind, yes - I'd like to see that video!
Anybody know what the bright green dot on the right side of the screen is when the camera is pointed up toward the sky? Is that Venus?
Some context might help. Grasshopper is testing systems that are being developed to recover the first stage of the two stage Falcon 9 launch vehicle. It is built from a Falcon 9 first stage with all but one engine removed. Falcon 9 has already reached orbit 6 times (5 times with the version that the current Grasshopper vehicle was built from, and most recently just a couple of weeks ago with an upgraded version).
SpaceX is developing a fully reusable launch system, in which both the first and second stage return to the landing site after being jettisoned, rather than discarded like in currently operational launch vehicles. Here is an animation showing how the Falcon 9R will work. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sSF81yjVbJE (the animation is a bit out of date, since it is based on the old Falcon 9 v1.0, which has been superseded by the newer v1.1, which is longer and has its 9 engines in a different configuration).
This may be the last flight of this vehicle, as a newer version of Grasshopper has been built using a v1.1 first stage. While Grasshopper has been testing the landing phase of the first stage recovery operation, SpaceX has also been testing other end of the operation. In the maiden flight of Falcon 9 v1.1 just a couple of weeks ago (which successfully deployed a Canadian satellite called CASSIOPE), they attempted to fly back the first stage to make a "soft" touchdown in the ocean. Unfortunately, the stage ended up spinning too fast, which choked off fuel from the engine. Apparently in the final version of Falcon 9R, the landing legs will act as spin stabilizers as well, which this launch vehicle did not have.
A good overview of current plans for developing the reusable Falcon 9, which I find immensely exciting, can be found here: http://www.nasaspaceflight.com/2013/10/musk-plans-reusability-falcon-9-rocket/
That's one of the drone's rotors -- you can see the blades spinning around it. I'm assuming the camera is gimbal-mounted and controlled independent of the platform....
An LED on the bottom of one of the drone rotors. You might want to up the brightness on your monitor a bit.
Well now I feel like a moron.
And this is why Grasshopper is hugely practical and SpaceX has so many squealing fanboys, me included.
Mouth agape. drool on keyboard.
this was absolutely brilliant.
Hey, there's the excuse we need for fins!
Reaching orbit is not the concept they must prove. That's already been proven by the Falcon 9, as SpacemanDave noted. Landing a reusable multi-stage launch vehicle after jettison is the concept that the current tests aim to prove. This is an Olympic gold medalist perfecting a revolutionary new landing technique that will transform the way the sport is played.
I showed this to a friend of mine today and about halfway through she asked "how did the camera get above the rocket?" and then a moment later "is it going down to land!?!"
Outside of a 50's sci-fi movie, people just do not expect to see a rocket reverse course and land from where it took off from. It's wonderfully amazingly great.
We have a LADDER OF FIRE here.
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