posted on Dec, 28 2012 @ 12:56 AM
The test flight lasted 29 seconds and included approximately 8 seconds of hovering time at the apex before returning back to the launch pad. There was
a small amount of lateral drift as the rocket ascended, and it appears most of this drift was corrected on the descent.
The Grasshopper consists of a Falcon 9 first stage fuselage with a Merlin 1D engine, and also has a set of four external, hydraulically dampened
landing legs added to the base of the fuselage to aid in the touchdown.
Currently the Falcon 9 first stage falls into the ocean after it’s finished boosting the second stage and Dragon spacecraft much of the way towards
orbit. If the Grasshopper testing and development is successful, SpaceX aims to have the first stage of a Falcon 9 rocket use a few of the nine Merlin
engines on board to steer it back to the launch site and then use the engines to slow it down for a precision landing similar to the video above.