SpaceX’s test vertical-landing rocket Grasshopper successfully climbed to 250 meters in its most recent test flight.

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.

The competition heats up: SpaceX’s test vertical-landing rocket Grasshopper successfully climbed to 250 meters in its most recent test flight.

Video below the fold.


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  • Greg

    So cool. Where is NASA’s version?

  • 1. Replace spindly landing legs with V-2-style fins

    2. Add swept wings

    3. Paint with red-and-white checkerboard pattern

    4. ???

    5. PROFIT!

  • Chris Kirkendall

    Definitely looks like they may be able to make this idea work. I was particularly impressed with its ability to just hover nearly motionless before descending back to the pad…

  • wodun


  • Scott

    Right out of my 50″s movie introduction to space travel. Back in “the old days” we never considered multistage vehicles or splashdowns in the ocean. Back then you could just hop in a rocket, blast off, and go to mars – have lunch – and return all in the same V2 shaped machine. Life was so much simpler when I was 10.

  • Steve C

    Have they been able to match the DC-X’s performance from back in the 90’s?

  • That would require them to blow off a panel in flight, then land successfully. “Oh god, oh god, we’re all going to die.”

  • Pzatchok

    Isn’t this supposed to be a prototype of a first and second stage rocket recovery plan?

    If this works they can use parachutes to slow down a falling first or second stage and then use the lift engines and a little left over fuel to land the rockets intact?

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