SpaceX's Reusable Rocket "Hops" to 3,280 Feet Before Returning to Terra Firma

By Gerald Lynch on at

Now this would make for one hell of an (expensive) fairground ride.

SpaceX is on a mission to shake up the space exploration industry, not just with its push into space tourism ventures, but also through reusable rockets. The business of sending rockets up to space (not, of course to be confused with return capsules and shuttle modules) is an expensive one -- once the fuel is dumped, they tend to be discarded and burn up upon re-entry into the atmosphere. SpaceX is looking into rocket hardware that can return to land safely once it has jettisoned its cargo.

The above video shows the progress made by the Falcon 9 Reusable rocket, which effortlessly rises (or "hops", as SpaceX calls the journey) to 3,280 feet (1,000m), before gently coming back down to land. It's a swift progression for the system, which just last month only managed a 250 metre flight (though its now-defunct predecessor, the Grasshopper, managed a 744 metre lift).

Will these rockets ever accompany missions into outer space? Who knows -- defending against the strains of re-entry and estimating the landing area would likely be tricky tasks. But SpaceX's quick progress here certainly is impressive. [The Next Web / Elon Musk (Twitter)]