SpaceX's next-generation reusable rocket roars in tie-down test

April 2, 2014 by Elizabeth Howell, Universe Today
The first stage of SpaceX’s F9R rocket was tested in a “static fire” in March 2014. Credit: SpaceX/YouTube (screenshot)

As SpaceX pursues its quest of rocket reusability, it recently subjected the first stage of its next generation Falcon 9 rocket (called the Falcon 9-reusable or F9R) to a tie-down test ahead of some more heavy-duty work in the coming months and years. Early indications are that the test was a success, the firm said.

Details of the rocket are still scance on the SpaceX's website, but the California-based company said that the rocket would generate about a million pounds of thrust at , and 1.5 million pounds in space. It's also a sort of follow-on from the leaping reusable Grasshopper rocket that retired last year.

Rockets are usually the "throwaway" items in a flight, but SpaceX is betting that by creating a reusable one that it will save on launch costs in the long run. (The rocket has been tested before, such as this long-duration one last June.)

"F9R test flights in New Mexico will allow us to test at higher altitudes than we are permitted for at our test site in Texas, to do more with unpowered guidance and to prove out landing cases that are more-flight like," SpaceX stated in the YouTube video description.

The video will load shortly

SpaceX's next launch to the space station was supposed to be in March, but it was scrubbed due to a radar outage that is affecting several launches. You can read more about the Falcon 9 's development (including the addition of landing legs) in this recent Universe Today article by Ken Kremer.

Explore further: SpaceX signs 1st customer for big new rocket

Related Stories

SpaceX signs 1st customer for big new rocket

May 29, 2012

(AP) — Space Exploration Technologies says it has signed its first commercial contract for a new rocket that will be more powerful than the one that launched the company's Dragon capsule to the International Space Station ...

SpaceX Grasshopper takes a leap into a 'ring of fire'

March 12, 2013

Last week, SpaceX's Grasshopper took its highest leap ever, doubling its past flights. On March 7, 2013, the vertical and takeoff and landing (VTVL) vehicle, rose 24 stories or 80.1 meters (262.8 feet), hovered for approximately ...

Recommended for you

Hubble catches a transformation in the Virgo constellation

December 9, 2016

The constellation of Virgo (The Virgin) is especially rich in galaxies, due in part to the presence of a massive and gravitationally-bound collection of over 1300 galaxies called the Virgo Cluster. One particular member of ...

Scientists sweep stodgy stature from Saturn's C ring

December 9, 2016

As a cosmic dust magnet, Saturn's C ring gives away its youth. Once thought formed in an older, primordial era, the ring may be but a mere babe – less than 100 million years old, according to Cornell-led astronomers in ...

Khatyrka meteorite found to have third quasicrystal

December 9, 2016

(Phys.org)—A small team of researchers from the U.S. and Italy has found evidence of a naturally formed quasicrystal in a sample obtained from the Khatyrka meteorite. In their paper published in the journal Scientific Reports, ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

GSwift7
not rated yet Apr 03, 2014
This could be very cool, if it turns out to be financially beneficial and safely workable. If SpaceX is able to get a significant cost lead against competition, it'll help them fund their other efforts, such as the Falcon Heavy and the Dragon Crew Capsule. Taking the idea a step farther, if this technology can be tranfered to the Dragon Heavy, it might really make a difference in what we can afford to do in higher orbits.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.