What goes up, must come down. And sometimes, the trip back to Earth is just as important as the flight itself.
That’s what SpaceX proved recently when its 10-story Grasshopper rocket flew nearly 744 meters into the air, reversed course and then made a gentle vertical landing on the same launch pad from which it started.
The successful test marks a milestone for the company, which plans to launch reusable rockets.
The flight took place October 7 and demonstrated the feasibility of a concept that could revolutionize space flight by dramatically reducing costs.
For 97 seconds, the Grasshopper rocket was airborne over SpaceX’s McGregor, Texas, facility, the latest in several low-altitude tests. The company plans to ramp up testing at a location in New Mexico at a later date.
SpaceX was founded in 2002 by billionaire Elon Musk. The company makes cargo capsules and rockets at its facility in Hawthorne, California. The company recently carried out a successful resupply mission to the International Space Station.
Here's a video shot by a SpaceX "hexacopter" unmanned aerial vehicle: