Thursday, January 12, 2012
SpaceX to Begin Testing Reusable Falcon 9 Technology
Click the arrow to watch a computer animation of SpaceX plans to launch a reusable Falcon 9.
NASASpaceFlight.com reports that SpaceX "will begin testing on a vertical propulsion landing system later this year, part of a long-term project to evaluate the potential of creating a fully-reusable version of their Falcon 9 launch vehicle. SpaceX believe a fully and rapidly reusable orbital class rocket would provide a critical breakthrough for the human race’s ambition of becoming a multi-planetary species."
The first element of testing the simulations with real hardware will begin via a technology test bed called “Grasshopper”. This concept – per Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) information – points to a single-engine Falcon 9 First Stage with its own landing legs.
As confirmed by SpaceX in a response to NASASpaceflight.com, the company will begin testing on their vertical propulsion landing system for the Falcon 9 Reusable project later this year – a project they acknowledge is a long-term effort.
“We will begin testing our vertical propulsion landing system later this year. This is the research and development effort designed to help us learn more about propulsive landing systems to advance plans for producing reusable rockets,” noted SpaceX.
“This is a long-term project. SpaceX must successfully complete extensive testing before we will see reusable vehicles.”