SpaceX tests rocket that hovers, lands vertically (Video)

Posted at 2:53 PM, Jul 06, 2013
and last updated 2013-07-06 14:53:40-04

SpaceX has released video of a test of their Grasshoper vehicle showing the rocket lifting off, flying to a height of over 1,000 feet, hovering, then returning to the launch pad in a vertical position.

The Grasshopper is a 10-story Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) vehicle designed 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 is attempting to build a rocket that can return to earth and be reused.

The company added extra navigation equipment to steer the test rocket, which consists of a Falcon 9 rocket first stage tank, Merlin 1D engine, four steel and aluminum landing legs with hydraulic dampers, and a steel support structure.

The test was filmed by a remote control hexacopter.