SpaceX’s Grasshopper is a great example of a simple idea with awesome execution. The Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) craft goes up, and it goes down. That’s about all it does, but when you consider the fact that it goes up over 800 feet in the air, hangs out for a little while, and then gently sets itself back down on the landing pad like nothing ever happened…well, we’re pretty impressed, anyway.
Yesterday’s test of SpaceX’s reusable rocket more than tripled its previous flight record, set just last month. It’s still nowhere near actually entering orbit, but tripling the height in about six weeks is something worth celebrating for the SpaceX team. It could be worth celebrating for space enthusiasts as well. If the Grasshopper lives up to the hype, we’re looking at the first stages of a reusable rocket that could act as a ferry for sending supplies to the ISS or similar endeavors on the cheap. That could free up money from mundane but necessary services, like keeping Chris Hadfield and company in astronaut ice cream, that can then be spent on more impressive feats in space, like giving the Moon its own moon.
And the fact that they’re playing Johnny Cash in the background makes the whole thing better, because it is a known fact that Johnny Cash playing in the background of anything makes that thing better.
- A manned lunar base is a neat idea…
- But it’s also likely a pipe dream
- In space, even wringing out a washcloth is amazing