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SpaceX has test fired its Grasshopper replacement test vehicle.

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.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

 
Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.

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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