Resources devoted to space exploration are becoming increasingly scarce, which is why companies like SpaceX is making it their mission to develop technologies that can serve to bring back what we launch into space—in their original form.
Since SpaceX began testing their 10-story Grasshopper Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) vehicle in 2012, the company has seen incremental improvements in the rocket’s ability to hover and land with precision.
As evident by one of Grasshopper’s latest test, we’re beginning to see that recycling some of our space junk will become a reality soon if technologies like SpaceX’s VTVL progresses quick enough. In a test on June 14, SpaceX managed to break the rocket’s previous record by reaching an altitude of 1,066ft (325m), hovering for a few seconds and then landing almost at the same spot in which it took off. SpaceX took this opportunity to equip the Grasshopper with some new navigational technology which allowed the rocket to precisely and smoothly land.
“For the first time in this test, Grasshopper made use of its full navigation sensor suite with the F9-R closed loop control flight algorithms to accomplish precision landing,” according to SpaceX. “Previous Grasshopper tests relied on other rocket sensors but for this test, an additional, higher accuracy sensor was in the control loop.”
See for yourself what the Grasshopper VTVL vehicle was able to accomplish. It’s pretty cool in our opinion!