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

Apr 02, 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.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.

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: Scars on Mars from 2012 rover landing fade—usually

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'

Mar 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 ...

Recommended for you

It's 'full spin ahead' for NASA soil moisture mapper

1 hour ago

The 20-foot (6-meter) "golden lasso" reflector antenna atop NASA's new Soil Moisture Active Passive (SMAP) observatory is now ready to wrangle up high-resolution global soil moisture data, following the successful ...

What drives the solar cycle?

1 hour ago

You can be thankful that we bask in the glow of a relatively placid star. Currently about halfway along its 10 billion year career on the Main Sequence, our sun fuses hydrogen into helium in a battle against ...

MESSENGER completes 4,000th orbit of Mercury

1 hour ago

On March 25, the MESSENGER spacecraft completed its 4,000th orbit of Mercury, and the lowest point in its orbit continues to move closer to the planet than ever before. The orbital phase of the MESSENGER ...

ESA recovers IXV spaceplane

1 hour ago

ESA's recovered IXV spaceplane arrived at the Port of Livorno in Italy yesterday and is set to be taken to Turin for final analysis.

User comments : 1

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.