- SpaceX is planning to build a reusable suborbital launch vehicle called Grasshopper.
- Up to 70 launches a year are planned at a new launch site in McGregor, Texas.
- The flights are expected to pave the way toward a fully reusable orbital launcher.
SpaceX, the company started by PayPal co-founder and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk, is stepping up its pursuit of a reusable rocket with a suborbital craft named "Grasshopper"
Based on the company's Falcon rocket, the 106-foot tall launcher will have an extra motor to practice cushioning its return trip to Earth, with the aim of landing on the launch pad, a draft environmental assessment issued by the Federal Aviation Administration shows.
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From a launch site in McGregor, Texas, Grasshopper will fly as high as about 11,500 feet above ground, and as often as 70 times a year. In addition to a Falcon 9 first stage and a Merlin engine, Grasshopper would be outfitted with four steel landing legs and a steel support structure, the FAA document shows.