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SpaceX performs Grasshopper test flight
Posted: Mon, Dec 24, 2012, 1:04 PM ET (1804 GMT)
SpaceX Grasshopper on 3rd test flight, Dec 2012 (SpaceX) SpaceX announced late Sunday it performed its highest test flight of a reusable launch vehicle technology demonstrator earlier this month. SpaceX's Grasshopper vehicle lifted off vertically from a pad at the company's Texas test site on December 17 and flew to an altitude of 40 meters before landing vertically 29 seconds after liftoff. The test flight was the third and highest to date for the vehicle, part of the company's efforts to develop a reusable version of its Falcon 9 rocket. The vehicle, which uses a Falcon 9 first stage with a single Merlin engine as well as landing legs and a support structure, made two previously, shorter test flights in September and October. The company said in a statement that "successively more sophisticated flights" are planned over the next several months.
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