SpaceX has test fired its Grasshopper replacement test vehicle.


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The competition heats up: SpaceX has test fired its Grasshopper replacement test vehicle.

Unlike Grasshopper, which only had one engine, the Falcon 9R (pronounced “niner”) is the equivalent of a Falcon 9 nine engine first stage. They fired it on the launchpad for 5 seconds in preparation for future vehicle take off and landing tests.

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4 comments

  • ken anthony

    I’m only about 150 miles from there (eastern AZ.) I should make a trip!

  • geoffc

    Actually, the Grasshopper 2/F9R being tested only has three engines installed at the moment, the others are to come later. More than the original Grasshopper which means sufficient thrust to carry a heavier load to higher altitudes for testing, but not yet a complete first stage.

  • I am assuming you are right. The reason I assumed it was a full first stage is because the article talks about developing a full thrust of 1 million to 1.5 pounds (depending on altitude), which I thought was what the first stage did. Am I in error again?

  • geoffc

    You are correct that it WILL eventually have all 9 engines, the config being tested at McGregor apparently only has three engines. At some point they will install the other 6 for testing in New Mexico. Exact details are of course scarce.

    Otherwise it is supposed to be a full up first stage.

    Have you seen a cost quote per engine? It would be interesting to know what Spacex is considering the cost to build a Merlin 1D. One of the changes quoted for the 1D build is simpler, and cheaper to build. Wonder how much difference between 1C and 1D there is.

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