10 story Grasshopper does a little daring

Slashgear.com : SpaceX Rasshopper aces side tracking reusable rocket test go check out the video at the link way cool as always!20130814-190927.jpgEven more exciting, there’s some more details on the next steps!

Of course, the system will have to go significantly higher if it’s to be of use to NASA. SpaceX plans to introduce a second version of Grasshopper – known as v1.1 – sometime after October 2013, which will stand 160 feet tall and use nine of the engines from the Falcon 9-R rocket, rather than Grasshopper v.1′s single engine.

When testing begins, Grasshopper v1.1 is expected to eventually fly to heights of 300,000 feet, launching from a specially constructed pad at Spaceport America, New Mexico.

SpaceYES!!

SpaceX continues to drive down the barriers like the aggressive but rationale organization they are and the world needs to move us to the next level of Earth to orbit operations. And having a dream and stretch goals are required elements.

From NASA Spaceflight: Dragon Roadmap: From domestic crew independence to humans on Mars
July 5, 2013 by Chris Bergin
20130706-222213.jpg20130706-222206.jpgGrasshopper reaches a thousand feet in new nav test. Read more at: SpaceX shows off new nav gear with latest Grasshopper rocket launch-and-landing (video)
By Timothy J. Seppala posted Jul 6th, 2013 at 3:47 PM
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Merlin 1D engine ready for space

The SpaceX Merlin 1D engine, the more powerful, more robust and less expensive
follow on to the operational 1C, has been certified for flight.

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This is the family, an interesting thing about the Heavy is the plan to have the strap-ons share fuel with the core, consequently when they separate the core is still fully fueled, a big performance increase.

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The engines have been run far harder than standard rating regimes require, 1) to solidify their ‘man rating’ for future crew lofting flights, 2) because SpaceX wants to reuse them, 3) because SpaceX wants top line insurance rates for their customers even while brining new approaches to the party.

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Rocket engines, so ugly you just know they’re powerful!

SpaceX Grasshopper, hops up 820ft

Cool videos at the Verge article.

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Held at height and then landed straight down unaffected by what looks like a reasonable breeze.

Second gen Falcon this year, possibly Falcon Heavy first flight, soft water return for a booster this year and ground return next year! Each demonstrates fundamental capabilities and the power of a committed commercial / civilian play with tech and team unfettered by bull crap FARS oversight dead weight. But each is advancing tech at a rate that seems more reminiscent of the sixties NASA and aviation tech| 2nd gen Falcon: new improved engines, Heavy: buddy tank w/ common boosters engines, any of the above: fly back boosters w/ powered soft landing first at sea then on land. Each step something daring and commercially valuable. I’m not sure how some of the competitors keep from going into terminal depression, if Musk’s SpaceX team nails the string the old guard are toast.

AWST – NASA, SpaceX Set First Dragon Launch To ISS

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NASA and SpaceX announce a February launch for Dragon to the ISS.

Later in the article is this, first articulation of something that should have been policy from the start:

Philip McAlister, director of commercial spaceflight development at NASA headquarters, told the conference he expects regular commercial cargo deliveries to the ISS to begin next year, followed in about five years by commercial crew flights. Although it is currently funded only through 2020, McAlister says he expects the station to continue to operate “as long as it is safe and productive,” serving as an anchor destination for a growing space economy in orbit.