Watch as Grasshopper sets a new record by ‘hopping’ over 1,000 feet

SpaceX's Grasshopper reusable rocket established a new standard a few weeks ago by climbing to an altitude of 1,066 feet (325 meters) — and then descending back down to Earth for its most accurate landing yet.


The previous record, which was set back in April, saw the Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) rocket reach a height of 820 feet (250 meters). The new record was set three weeks ago on June 14th, and the accompanying video has finally been made available by SpaceX. It was captured by a hexacopter drone hovering at 1,066 feet.


To make the precision landing, Grasshopper made use of its full navigation sensor suite with the F9-R closed loop control flight algorithms. Previous tests relied on other rocket sensors which were not as accurate. SpaceX was directly controlling the rocket based on these new sensor readings, increasing the level of accuracy in sensing the distance between Grasshopper and the ground.


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So what is the purpose of having a rocket land vertically? So you can recover it in land locked areas? Isn't it cheaper (less tech, less weight) to parachute down into the ocean, or are the recovery costs really high?