SpaceX Test-flies Rocket for Sci-Fi

SpaceX has released a video showing a test flight of the Falcon 9 Reusable rocket.  The Falcon 9 Reusable is a rocket just like those depicted in science fiction for years – a rocket that takes off and also lands back in the launch position – ready to be refueled and relaunched.  It is a very interesting concept for reducing the costs of launch – by reducing the waste created by traditional rockets – and will be very interesting to see how it develops.

Ideas like the Falcon 9 Reusable have come from allowing a private company led by a true visionary (Elon Musk, also CEO of Tesla) to participate in the space industry.  SpaceX was created by NASA’s COTS program – when the Agency was creatively looking for ways to leverage the strengths of the private sector.  I hope that history will recognize the COTS program for the great success that it truly was.

Here is a story from SpaceRef.biz on the test launch.  You can see a video of the rocket launching, hovering, and landing again on its legs here:  Video

Falcon 9 Reusable Completes Test Flight to 1000 Meters

©SPACEX

Falcon 9 Reusable Completes Rest Flight to 1000 Meters

 

SpaceX has released a second video of a Falcon 9 Reusable test flight, this time reaching 1000 meters before softly landing in the same spot.

From SpaceX: “Video of Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) taking its second test flight at our rocket development facility. F9R quadrupled its height from its previous test to rise to 1,000m.

Early flights of F9R will take off with legs fixed in the down position. However, we will soon be transitioning to liftoff with legs stowed against the side of the rocket and then extending them just before landing.

The F9R testing program is the next step towards reusability following completion of the Grasshopper program last year. Future testing, including that in New Mexico, will be conducted using the first stage of a F9R as shown here, which is essentially a Falcon 9 v1.1 first stage with legs. F9R test flights in New Mexico will allow us to test at higher altitudes than we are permitted for at our test site in Texas, to do more with unpowered guidance and to prove out landing cases that are more-flight like.”

 

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