SCIENCE
10/14/2013 10:35 pm ET | Updated Oct 15, 2013

SpaceX 'Grasshopper' Rocket Breaks Altitude Record (VIDEO)

The SpaceX "Grasshopper" keeps jumping higher and higher.

Earlier this month, the experimental rocket set a new record, launching to an altitude 744 meters (2,441 feet) above its launchpad before slowly easing itself back down to its original position.

A video of the short flight was uploaded to YouTube Saturday. It was recorded by a drone perched high above the launch site at SpaceX's rocket development facility in McGregor, Texas.

The goal of these tests is to develop a reusable rocket system that can carry payloads to space. Conventional rocket boosters are capable of only one launch. Though SpaceX rockets cost of millions of dollars each (SpaceX's Falcon 9, for instance, has a list price of $54 million), the company believes reusability is the key to decreasing the costs of spaceflight.

“If one can figure out how to effectively reuse rockets just like airplanes, the cost of access to space will be reduced by as much as a factor of a hundred," SpaceX founder Elon Musk said in a statement published on the company's website. "A fully reusable vehicle has never been done before. That really is the fundamental breakthrough needed to revolutionize access to space.”

In August, the company published a video of the Grasshopper successfully performing what is called a "divert" test, in which the 10-story rocket hovered 820 feet above the launchpad and then moved side to side in a controlled motion.

Grasshopper's previous altitude record, set in early July, was 1,066 feet.

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