SpaceX's "Grasshopper" Rocket Could Launch From NM Spaceport This Year

Oct 18, 2013

Credit Steve Jurvetson

SpaceX has announced that the testing of their vertical take off and landing rocket at Spaceport America could begin as early as December. The vehicle, named the Grasshopper, has been in development in Texas and took it’s final test flight there earlier this month.

SpaceX president Gwynne Shotwell made the announcement earlier this week in Las Cruces at an annual commercial spaceflight conference.

She says at Spaceport America, the reusable rocket will be able to reach higher speeds and altitudes. She says the business environment in the state was also a factor in selecting New Mexico’s spaceport for the testing.

"It’s just a great test site. Fundamentally, just the way the land is laid out and the population. It provides the ability to do all sorts of extraordinary testing that you can’t really do in many other locations."

According to Shotwell, about 25 of SpaceX’s more than 3,000 employees will be temporarily relocated to southern New Mexico to perform the Grasshopper rocket tests.