Elon Musk’s SpaceX again successfully demonstrated that the sky’s the limit with its Grasshopper prototype spacecraft, a ten-story tall Vertical Takeoff Vertical Landing (VTVL) rocket. Fittingly, Musk used Earth Day to Tweet out a video of Grasshopper soaring to 820 feet—besting its previous height of 260 feet—hovering, and returning to the exact spot from which it took off. The rocket, which is designed to launch and land vertically, is expected to one day provide enough data so SpaceX can use its reusable launch system for space flight.
Back in December, Grasshopper successfully rose to 130 feet and returned to Earth, and then later rose to 260 feet in March. This latest test shows that SpaceX is taking huge steps toward creating a commercially reusable rocket. SpaceX has already accomplished flights to the International Space Station with its Falcon Heavy rockets, and will hope to eventually do the same with Grasshopper.
The video is kind of beautiful with the flat Texas landscape in the background, the rocket’s engine roaring, Johnny Cash crooning. It’s a significant achievement for SpaceX, another stepping stone for the company to one day make more routine expeditions into space—maybe even with civilians on board.