Last week, Space Exploration Technologies (SpaceX) took a tiny leap — literally
– in its quest to develop a reusable rocket that can take off and land itself vertically.
The prototype vehicle, named Grasshopper, lifted off ever so slightly from a test stand in McGregor, Texas, on Friday and landed on its four steel legs, a new video posted on the firm’s website shows.
The six-foot hop was the first major milestone for Grasshopper — “a critical step,” the company said, toward a reusable first stage for its Falcon 9 rockets.
Grasshopper’s next trick? Hover about 100 feet off the ground.
Image: Artist’s rendering of SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket landing itself. Credit: SpaceX