SpaceX’s Cowboy-Carrying Rocket Flies to 131 Feet, Hovers and Lands

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posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 02:47 PM
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Last week was the 109th anniversary of the Wright brothers’ first flight, and SpaceX celebrated in style with the highest launch of its Grasshopper test rocket to date. The flight took place at the company’s McGregor, Texas test facility, and at 131 feet is practically the vertical rocket version of Orville’s first flight that covered 120 feet on December 17, 1903 (the SpaceX flight was a nice, round metric jump of 40 meters).

This was the third flight for the Grasshopper, a test vehicle SpaceX is using to develop a fully controllable and reusable first-stage launch vehicle for future trips to orbit and beyond.


Source



This is a huge jump considering that the first attempts reached altitudes of 6 feet, then of 18 feet. But this time it had on it a cowboy mannequin, to give it some scale.





posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 02:52 PM
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how the hell did they get that thing to fly straight up like that then back down without tipping over?



posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 03:09 PM
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Originally posted by dc4lifeskater
how the hell did they get that thing to fly straight up like that then back down without tipping over?


It appears to use smaller rockets to stabilize itself.. they would fire to push against whichever way the rocket is leaning to keep it straight.. it appears as though it has four of them... attached tot he "feet" of the rocket
edit on 12/27/2012 by miniatus because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 03:17 PM
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reply to post by dc4lifeskater
 


Digital GYRO FTW!



posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 03:18 PM
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Wow that was a cool video. Just shows how far rocket/ flight tech has come over the years.

Kudos to SpaceX I have a feeling their role in space tech the next few decades will be substantial and necessary.
I cant wait to see what the next few years will hold.



posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 03:21 PM
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reply to post by dc4lifeskater
 


Gyroscopes and thrusters to control the angles.



posted on Dec, 27 2012 @ 03:21 PM
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reply to post by dc4lifeskater
 


Gyroscopes and thrusters to control the angles.



posted on Dec, 28 2012 @ 12:56 AM
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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.



posted on Dec, 28 2012 @ 06:08 AM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
reply to post by dc4lifeskater
 


Gyroscopes and thrusters to control the angles.

Actually, the Merlin engine gimbals, so it doesn't need thrusters, it just vectors its thrust.


Thrust Vector Control
Pitch, Yaw Gimbaled engines Gimbaled engine
Roll Gimbaled engines Turbine exhaust duct (gimbal)

www.spacex.com...
I know that's for the Falcon 9, but the Merlin 1D is basically an upgraded version of the same engine the Falcon 9 uses (and the Falcon 9 will be switching to the 1D shortly if I recall).
edit on 28-12-2012 by ngchunter because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 28 2012 @ 07:21 AM
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131 feet huh? So basically they've managed to beat the vertical limit of your average bottle rocket, by a whopping 40 some feet. Gotta star somewhere I suppose. I think they should avoid the traditional approach and think more outside the box. Anyone else familiar with the other "Project HARP"? If you're not familiar I'd look it up. Pretty interesting approach for satellite launch, though I imagine it would take some serious tweaking to increase the payload to include passengers/crew. Would definately make for a hell of a launch to anyone on board.



posted on Dec, 28 2012 @ 07:24 AM
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en.m.wikipedia.org...

Wiki for Project Harp



posted on Dec, 28 2012 @ 08:17 AM
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reply to post by ngchunter
 


I saw one design a few years ago that used thruster puffs to keep it balanced. Thrust vectoring makes more sense to me. It's a neat design, and hopefully all goes well in testing.



posted on Dec, 28 2012 @ 08:28 AM
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Seems as if humans are still finding different ways to invent the wheel..
Anti gravity/ and plasma propulsion seem more logical..
using a "Fuel" based cylinder is like leaving your house in an electric car
with no way to recharge..



posted on Dec, 28 2012 @ 08:44 AM
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Yee-haw! Reusable single stage to orbit rocket ship here we come! Just like the ones in 1950s science fiction movies! (Seriously, this is a great milestone... but I'm a bit of a Skylon fan myself.
)



posted on Dec, 28 2012 @ 08:46 AM
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All hail SpaceX, this is a first step towards fully reusable rockets.

But we need more payloads, too. What good is a reusable rocket if it flies twice a year?



posted on Dec, 28 2012 @ 08:47 AM
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reply to post by Lil Drummerboy
 


Chemical rockets are still the only method we have for getting to orbit. Vasimr is still under development which will provide plasma propulsion, but that is only useful once in orbit.



posted on Dec, 28 2012 @ 08:48 AM
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All well done and precise, but doesn't it mean in effect the first stage is used twice for each launch?
How long then can the reusable, and more complex first stages actually be reused?

They must be doing alternative research into reaching orbit, I just can't see this current method of getting into orbit as a long time commercial infrastructure, but good luck to them anyway.



posted on Dec, 28 2012 @ 09:11 AM
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reply to post by smurfy
 


They'll undergo a rebuild after each launch, like the SRBs did with the shuttle. When the shuttles came back, everything including the shuttle engines were removed and rebuilt before the next launch.



posted on Dec, 28 2012 @ 10:46 AM
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Originally posted by Zaphod58
reply to post by smurfy
 


They'll undergo a rebuild after each launch, like the SRBs did with the shuttle. When the shuttles came back, everything including the shuttle engines were removed and rebuilt before the next launch.


I understand that, but the point I was getting at was that the mainframe is like everything else finite, so how reusable are these first stages, especially when there are two main functions to perform, as in take-off, and return.



posted on Dec, 28 2012 @ 11:01 AM
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reply to post by smurfy
 


Well the solid rocket boosters used on the shuttle were used for years without the outside being changed. They only rebuilt the inside portions of them.





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