On 11/1/12, SpaceX’s Grasshopper vertical takeoff and landing test vehicle (VTVL) hops nearly two stories (17.7 feet/5.4 meters). Duration was 8 seconds using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control.
SpaceX is working to develop vehicles that are fully and rapidly reusable, a key element to radically reducing cost and increasing the efficiency of spaceflight. The 10-story Grasshopper test vehicle consists of a Falcon 9 first stage, a Merlin-1D engine, four steel landing legs, and a steel support structure. It is being tested in successively higher jumps at SpaceX’s rocket development facility in Texas.