Is Elon Musk Planning the First Controlled Re-Entry of a Rocket this Summer?

Posted by on March 27th, 2013

The folks at NextBigFuture via are reporting the rumor mill has SpaceX planning to send their reusable Grasshopper test rocket to a height of 300,000 feet in the near future with an eye towards trying a controlled re-entry of the primary stage sometime this year.

The first high-altitude test flight would see the first stage going to the edge of space (the actual edge, not the make-believe-one whenever the media sees a photo from a high altitude balloon) and returning to the launch pad (ideally) at White Sands Missile Range.

If that proves successful, they plan to bring a first stage back down to earth via a rocket controlled descent into the ocean.

Either mission would be a huge, groundbreaking (only figuratively, hopefully) event in space travel. A successful return of a first stage takes us dramatically closer to the dream of a rocket as reusable as a commercial airplane. This would bring the cost of putting things into orbit low enough to create a boom in aerospace development.

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