back to article Elon Musk's 'Grasshopper' hover rocket scores another test success

SpaceX, the radical upstart startup rocket firm helmed by PayPal hecamillionaire and geek visionary Elon Musk, has announced a further successful trial of its hovering "Grasshopper" test vehicle. According to the company: On Thursday, March 7, 2013, SpaceX’s Grasshopper doubled its highest leap to date to rise 24 stories …

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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'd murder a curry right now...

  2. big_D Silver badge
    FAIL

    No video

    Sony Music pulled the video, here in Germany...

  3. Mike Richards Silver badge

    Not retro-futuristic enough

    Do you think we can persuade Elon Musk to redesign it so as to more closely resemble Thunderbird 3?

  4. ecofeco Silver badge
    Boffin

    20 Years Later

    It only took 20 years after the Delta Clipper (DC-X) project to make this happen... again. (google it)

    BACK TO THE FUTURE!

  5. William Donelson

    Awesome!

  6. Neil Barnes Silver badge
    Boffin

    Someone please remind Lester and the SPB...

    This is *not* an available option for Lohan.

  7. umacf24

    Spalshdown is vulgar.

    Gentlemen land on their jets.

  8. brainwrong
    Facepalm

    Strange comment

    "At touchdown, the thrust to weight ratio of the vehicle was greater than one"

    Of course it was, what a pointless thing to say! Or is that just a fancy way of saying that it didn't crash land?

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Strange comment

      No - a plane with the engines off still lands, rather than crashes, even with a thrust to weight ratio of 0.

      This was actively hovering - not just a slowed descent.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Score: Elon 1, the other guys 5

    Elon isn't too happy that he lost his lawsuit against Top Gear for showing his no so good EV dying on track. In addition Musk didn't do himself any favors with his public spat with the NY Times reporter who was candid about his 300 mile journey in a Tesla toy. Musk will also lose that lawsuit that hasn't been filed yet.

  10. LordHighFixer
    Go

    hearts a flutter

    All of the Mars One fans are ooo'ing and ahhh'ing over this. This is a nice step forward in not having a "impact landing" on mars. Any landing you can walk away from and all that...

    http://marsonefans.com/

    http://mars-one.com/

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Reminds me

    of the Nulka.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Standing Freaking Ovation

    Well done you. It only looks simple when experts spend decades of man years making it come together.

  13. 1Rafayal

    always enjoy reading about SpaceX these days.

    I am not a rocket or SpaceX fanboi, but they certainly seem to be pushing in a very interesting direction.

    1. Kharkov
      Thumb Up

      Interesting? Well, yeah but 'cheap' is a better word for what SpaceX is doing...

      Interesting? Yes but much more significantly, SpaceX is doing more to get humanity off this planet than anyone else.

      They're already cheaper than anyone else *cough*ULA*cough* in the business and is anyone else trying to make their rockets cheaper? Not that anyone can see.

      SpaceX is also trying to make their rockets reusable (at the cost of reduced payload but that's not necessarily a bad thing for the Falcon 9 v1.1 & certainly not for the upcoming Falcon Heavy) which will reduce launch costs even more, and allow even more launches per year.

      Make it cheap enough, and everyone'll do it...

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Interesting? Well, yeah but 'cheap' is a better word for what SpaceX is doing...

        >Make it cheap enough, and everyone'll do it...

        One question is how elastic is the space market?

        Apart from dreams of asteroid mining or exploration how many satelite launches does the world need?

        Telecoms satelites haven't been competitive with fibre for nearly 2 decades, we have 4 separate sat-nav systems and geostationary is pretty much full - and becoming irrelevant in the Netflix era.

        1. Kharkov
          Boffin

          Re: Interesting? Well, yeah but 'cheap' is a better word for what SpaceX is doing...

          How elastic was the exploration market just prior to Columbus? Spain wasn't desperately short of food or space and yet Columbus got his funding (but not the right to a percentage of all the returns from the New World, something that was denied to him in the small print - a lesson for all of us there...) to go off and explore.

          There wasn't much of a return for Spain in the very early days but the New World became a galvanizing idea for the Spanish population (in fact, over the next two centuries Spain DEpopulated, its population actually shrank as people flooded out to the Americas) and they, followed by other Europeans, rushed out to develop and make a new life for themselves in the New World.

          Make getting off the planet cheap and people will, again, be stirred up. People will, over time, head out to develop the New Frontier and, in time, make a new economy, of ideas, of trade etc.

  14. edwardbr

    I like the spanish blocke tied to the side of the rocket, check out the video near the end. Big Cajones!

  15. Dan Paul
    Devil

    Great work, similar to the LEM but better with automatic control

    The Lunar Excursion Module did a similar landing during the Apollo Moon missions. The first Lunar landing was a problem because the surface of the original landing site was full of boulders about the size of cars and the crew had to go to manual control and change direction to somewhere flatter.

    The problem then was that the main engine was not at all designed for vectoring, they had to use the attitude jets (little cross shaped things all over the LEM) for directional control and modulate the main engine to allow a gentle descent or ascent. Thank god they had the sense to use a (somewhat) modulating engine or they would a different kind of history.

    Landing the LEM in full manual with an untested engine was truly a scary feat of flying.

    This Grasshopper is just like those old SF movie landings with a full rocket landing vertical (Destination Moon). Let's see them do it in a 25 mph breeze now. That will be the real test of the automated control system.

  16. James Pickett

    "Merlin rocket engine"

    I remember when Merlin engines drove propellors...

    Also, when did VTOL become VTVL?

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