Engine: Merlin 1D - 650 kN / 147,000 lbf, throttleable
A second version of Grasshopper will be 50% taller, in line with the Falcon 9 v1.1 tank stretch, have a lighter thrust structure (engine mount) and have legs that fold up along its sides while in flight - akin to those on their "Future" Falcon RLV concept of operations (CONOPS) reusable launcher video (bottom)
The FAA license for Grasshopper tests at SpaceX's McGregor, Texas test facility covers flights up to 3,500m / 11,500ft. Higher than that, and supersonic flights, will be done at the White Sands Missile Range.
SpaceX’s Grasshopper took a 12-story leap towards full and rapid rocket reusability in a test flight conducted December 17, 2012 at SpaceX’s rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.
Grasshopper, SpaceX’s vertical takeoff and landing vehicle (VTVL), rose 131 feet (40 meters), hovered and landed safely on the pad using closed loop thrust vector and throttle control. The total test duration was 29 seconds.
Grasshopper stands 10 stories tall and consists of a Falcon 9 rocket first stage, Merlin 1D engine, four steel landing legs with hydraulic dampers, and a steel support structure.
The 12-story flight marks a significant increase over the height and length of hover of Grasshopper’s previous test flights, which took place earlier this fall. In September, Grasshopper flew to 1.8 meters (6 feet), and in November, it flew to 5.4 meters (17.7 feet/2 stories) including a brief hover.
Testing of Grasshopper will continue with successively more sophisticated flights expected over the next several months.
Falcon RLV CONOPS -