Tag Archives: Grasshopper

Grasshopper’s latest leap

SpaceX seems determined to develop a vertical takeoff and landing space rocket system, just like the ones in the old science fiction stories and movies.

In its latest test, just up the road from the rancho (note the ubiquitous Texas water tower), their Grasshopper rose to 80 meters on a tail of chemical flame, hovered for about 30 seconds, and then made a safe controlled landing. The controlled landing is the important part.

Here’s their good video of the event, set to the tune of an old Johnny Cash favorite. Note the cowboy-hatted figure on the base of the rocket, before the launch and after the landing, meant to represent Cash. Fire-proof, no doubt. Faster, please.

Neil Armstrong buried at sea

I had no idea. Shows what happens when you ignore most of the media most of the time. The first moonwalker, who performed that feat in July 1969 when I was rather preoccupied on patrol in Vietnam, died at 82 in August.

I knew that part. I didn’t know he was cremated and his “ashes” and “dust” were buried at sea in the Atlantic somewhere off Florida. Probably directly east of the launch pad, though it doesn’t say.

Meanwhile, a day or so after the retired Endeavor space shuttle flew by McGregor, Texas, on its 747 carrier, Space X tested its Grasshopper, a vertical landing space vehicle, there. For now, it’s the first stage of X’s Falcon 9 powered by a Merlin engine—and the classic scifi image of the landing space rocket. If they ever do succeed at making that routine, we’ll know our space future is on the way.