SpaceX 'Grasshopper' Takes Its First Hop

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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.

NEWS: SpaceX to Build ‘Grasshopper’ Rocket

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