109 years ago the Wright brothers celebrated their first flight. The corporate space travel group Space-X celebrated it with the launch of its highest test rocket to date, the Grasshopper. The Grasshopper is a fully controllable and reusable first-stage launch vehicle for future trips to orbit and beyond. RT’s Liz Wahl explains.
SpaceX tested a new rocket, dubbed the Grasshopper, at the company’s facility in McGregor, Texas. Over the course of the 29-second flight, the Grasshopper shot 131 feet into into the air, hovered for eight seconds, and then gracefully lowered itself back to the ground. (By comparison, the Wright brothers’ 1903 flight lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet.)
The test was the Grasshopper’s third flight, according to Wired, but the first two flights only made it 6 feet and 18 feet off the ground. The 131-foot mark — nearly 12 stories up — is a major advancement for a rocket that SpaceX hopes will someday be a reusable launch vehicle and a major addition to their spacegoing fleet.
Looking a little bit closer, a cowboy mannequin on the right side of the spacecraft could be spotted on the bottom of the structure. According to SpaceX founder Elon Musk, the mannequin was added to provide a sense of scale.