SpaceX's Grasshopper goes out on a high

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Posted: Saturday, October 12, 2013 6:01 pm

An Oct. 7 flight at SpaceX's McGregor development site sent its Grasshopper testbed rocket the highest it's ever gone — 744 meters, or 2,441 feet.

A Facebook post from SpaceX said this was planned to be the last flight for Grasshopper, the modified Falcon 9 first stage with a single Merlin 1D engine that the company has used to test its vertical landing systems: up will be low altitude tests of the Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) development vehicle in Texas followed by high altitude testing in New Mexico.

SpaceX had previously said a more advanced vehicle would take over testing, with flights at Spaceport America near White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. Now that they're actually using the F9R name for it, it sounds like it might be a full nine-engine first stage. I have a query in to SpaceX about this, and I'll let you know when I hear back...

Joseph Abbott
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