Breaking News Emails
SpaceX's Grasshopper rocket prototype made another record-setting vertical takeoff and landing this week from the California-based company's test pad near McGregor, Texas. But what's really cool about Oct. 7's half-mile (744-meter) ascent and controlled descent is the amazing view from a remote-controlled hexacopter that captured the video clip.
This is what a rocket launch and landing is supposed to look like.
The 10-story craft is testing the technologies that would be required to have the first stage of a rocket fly itself back to base after launch. The Grasshopper consists of a Falcon 9 first-stage tank, Merlin 1D rocket engine, landing legs and a steel support structure.
Last month's launch of a Falcon 9 v1.1 rocket provided a real-world test of rocket reusability, and although the test wasn't completely successful, it's only a matter of time before SpaceX gets it right. Then everything changes.
Earlier Grasshopper tests:
- August 2013: Sideways test to 250 meters
- July 2013: Grasshopper rises 325 meters
- April 2013: Grasshopper at 250 meters
- March 2013: Grasshopper at 80 meters
- December 2012: Grasshopper at 40 meters
- November 2012: Grasshopper at 5.4 meters
- September 2012: First flight test at 2 meters
Alan Boyle is NBCNews.com's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the NBC News Science Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding +Alan Boyle to your Google+ circles. To keep up with NBCNews.com's stories about science and space, sign up for the Tech & Science newsletter, delivered to your email in-box every weekday. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.