SpaceX Grasshopper Makes Biggest Hop Yet

Privately owned space launch company SpaceX announced over the weekend that its experimental Grasshopper lift vehicle has recently made its tallest leap yet -- and returned safely to earth.

SpaceX is the third of PayPal founder Elon Musk's big tech companies, which include solar-power lessor SolarCity (NASDAQ: SCTY  ) and electric-car maker Tesla Motors (NASDAQ: TSLA  ) . It's also the only one said to be currently profitable -- and the only one Musk has not yet floated in a public IPO.

SpaceX's Grasshopper vertical takeoff and vertical landing vehicle most recently made headlines in December, when it launched 131 feet into the air, hovered there briefly, and then lowered itself back to earth "using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control." On Thursday last week, though, Grasshopper easily beat that record, rising twice as high -- 262.8 feet, or the height of a 24-story building -- there hovering for a full 34 seconds, and then landing safely, again "using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control."

This was Grasshopper's fourth successful test flight in six months, over which time the Grasshopper has hopped increasingly tall building-heights -- from 6 feet initially, all the way up to last week's 263-foot giant leap. SpaceX's ultimate goal is to get Grasshopper (or a successor thereto) all the way into orbit, deposit a payload there, then drop back down to earth, and lower itself safely back onto its launchpad under its own power.


Read/Post Comments (0) | Recommend This Article (4)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

Help us keep this a respectfully Foolish area! This is a place for our readers to discuss, debate, and learn more about the Foolish investing topic you read about above. Help us keep it clean and safe. If you believe a comment is abusive or otherwise violates our Fool's Rules, please report it via the Report this Comment Report this Comment icon found on every comment.

Be the first one to comment on this article.

Sponsored Links

Leaked: Apple's Next Smart Device
(Warning, it may shock you)
The secret is out... experts are predicting 458 million of these types of devices will be sold per year. 1 hyper-growth company stands to rake in maximum profit - and it's NOT Apple. Show me Apple's new smart gizmo!

DocumentId: 2309178, ~/Articles/ArticleHandler.aspx, 8/22/2014 6:13:56 AM

Report This Comment

Use this area to report a comment that you believe is in violation of the community guidelines. Our team will review the entry and take any appropriate action.

Sending report...


Advertisement