October 29, 2013 | 3
SpaceX – of course – is already one of my favorite companies on the planet, or even throughout Known Space. They’re not-so-quietly revolutionizing the terran space industry with the humble goal of ultimately “enabling people to live on other planets.”
Hey, I’m a person! And I think it would be cool if founder/CEO/CTO Elon Musk were to succeed in helping to make us a multi-planet species. I may not live to see it, but I’m all for it.
Designing and building new rockets – engines, vehicles, launch systems – almost entirely in-house at their facility near LAX airport, SpaceX is like a Robert Heinlein wet dream. They’ve already made cargo deliveries to and from the International Space Station. And their Dragon space capsule is being readied for future manned missions as well, to hopefully fill the current gap in American spaceflight capability.
But, in addition to their successful Falcon 1 and Falcon 9 launch vehicles, they’ve begun test flights of a new reusable vertical takeoff, vertical landing rocket called Grasshopper. And it has to be seen in action to be believed.
Fortunately, that’s easy because, from the beginning, SpaceX has been one of the most open technology companies around. Their website is constantly being updated with news – including updates and mission assessments from Elon Musk himself. There are plenty of photos and, yes, videos.
So, here is the latest test launch (October 7) of the 10-story Grasshopper vehicle, which reached an altitude of 744 meters – and then returned to the launch pad. The video is shot from a single camera hexacopter, which makes it even cooler:
For more of the same, check out this previous test from June:
And you can find all the SpaceX videos on their YouTube channel.