Grasshopper marks a giant leap for reusable rocketry

SpaceX has marked another milestone in its ambition to develop reusable rockets with the highest flight yet of its Grasshopper vertical takeoff and landing (VTVL) vehicle.

Last month Grasshopper doubled its highest flight to date to 80.1m, hovering for approximately 34 seconds then landing using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control.

Grasshopper consists of a Falcon 9 rocket first stage tank, Merlin 1D engine, four steel and aluminium landing legs with hydraulic dampers, and a steel support structure.

According to SpaceX, the thrust to weight ratio of the vehicle at touchdown was greater than one, proving a key landing algorithm for Falcon 9.