SPACE TRAVEL BUSINESSMAN Elon Musk has sent a Falcon 9 Grasshopper rocket up to its highest altitude so far of 744 metres.
This is the highest that one of his rockets has flown, and according to the Spacex organisation marks significant progress.
A video of the flight has been shared on Youtube. It said that the 10 story high rocket, known as a Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) vehicle, is a stride toward a rocket that can be launched and landed.
"Grasshopper is a 10-story designed [vehicle] to test the technologies needed to return a rocket back to Earth intact. While most rockets are designed to burn up on atmosphere reentry, Spacex rockets are being designed not only to withstand reentry, but also to return to the launch pad for a vertical landing," it said. "The Grasshopper VTVL vehicle represents a critical step towards this goal."
The rocket is shown in the video making its almost half a mile reach for the stars. The video is taken from a camera onboard a hexacopter.
The hexacopter starts in the air and traces the rocket's climb and then its return to earth. It touches down pretty much spot on where it launched, and its flight up and down lasts about a minute and a half.
Musk and Spacex launched a Falcon at the end of September. That one did not land quite right, but Musk said it provided them with clues about what to fix.
"Rocket booster relit twice (supersonic retro & landing), but spun up due to aero torque, so fuel centrifuged & we flamed out," he said.
"Between this flight & Grasshopper tests, I think we now have all the pieces of the puzzle to bring the rocket back home." µ
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