SpaceX showed off its new Grasshopper rocket today during a test in Texas.
The rocket launch video starts like most videos you’ve seen. The rocket is pointed straight up at the sky, the engines ignite and you can see a ball of fire. Then there’s a bunch of smoke and then the rocket takes off.
That’s how the Grasshopper started its launch but then it did something a little different. It pauses mid-air, makes a “sideways divert” maneuver, and then returns to the launch pad.
According to SpaceX, the Grasshopper climbed to about 820 feet before it went into hover mode and performed the divert maneuver. The rocket moved about 328 feet sideways and then returned to the ground.
SpaceX said: “Diverts like this are an important part of the trajectory in order to land the rocket precisely back at the launch site after re-entering from space at hypersonic velocity.”
Founder and CEO Elon Musk is hoping to make space travel cheaper by building reusable rockets. Currently, shuttles are sent to space on big expensive rockets that are discarded once they are used up. Sometimes they end up at the bottom of the ocean and it takes a billionaire (Jeff Bezos) and a bunch of spare time to dig them back up.
Here’s a video of the SpaceX Grasshopper Test in Texas.
Musk is hoping to re-invent space travel with his Grasshopper rocket but space isn’t the only frontier that the SpaceX founder is exploring. Musk recently unveiled his plans for the hyperloop.
[Image Via SpaceX]