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13.03.2013

SpaceX Grasshopper makes record 80 m hop

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American space transport manufacturer SpaceX (Space Exploration Technologies) has continued the testing of the new vertical takeoff and landing vehicle (VTVL) called Grasshopper.

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During the last testing Grasshopper spacecraft set a new record soared to 80 meters, hovering about 34 seconds and landing on its launch pad. Previous flight was made in December 2012 to 40 meters. The VTVL Grasshopper consists of a Falcon 9 rocket first stage, engine Merlin 1D, four aluminum-steel landing legs with hydraulic dampers and steel support structure.

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In his speech during SXSW Elon Musk SpaceX founder noted that his aim was to create a spaceship for sending humans to Mars and the moon. For this purpose his company should produce a reusable spacecraft to make space travel less expensive.

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With the successful implementation of the Grasshopper project astronauts will get a reusable spacecraft to replace retired in 2011 NASA space shuttles.

According to Musk the key for the space exploration future is creation of reusable spacecraft without it reducing the cost of sending astronauts and materials into space is impossible.

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Space Exploration Technologies shares its ambitious plans to send astronauts to Mars. Elon Musk admitted that he wants to die on Mars, just not on impact.

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