Ever since the U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration announced the end of its space shuttle program, the race to develop reusable vehicles to get to space – to supply needed materials for projects such as the International Space Station – has heated up. Arguably at the forefront of private companies developing such vehicles is SpaceX which just recently showed off the capabilities of its Grasshopper experimental rocket. Taking off to 131 feet or about 12 stories high, the Grasshopper can be seen to hover in these videos and then safely set itself down. If you don’t find that impressive, take note that the first two tries of the Grasshopper had it hovering just 6 feet and 18 feet. Think about the cost savings these reusable rockets can give if much of the original vehicle can be safely recovered and used again in future launches.
Image from SpaceX