FAA issues permit to SpaceX for Grasshopper flights
October 25 2012 08:34:54 PM |
FAA's Office of Commercial Space Transportation issued an experimental permit to SpaceX on October 18th for flights of the Grasshopper reusable booster prototype at their McGregor, Texas facility: EP_12-008_Oct_18 (pdf). (The initial brief "hop" in September was perhaps done under the amateur rules.)
The permit allows for
(1) An unlimited number of flights of the Grasshopper Reusable Launch Vehicle within the operating area identified by permit order A; and
(2) Pre-flight and post-flight ground operations at McGregor Test Site associated with flight of the Grasshopper Reusable Launch Vehicle
The permit goes on to specify various conditions and limitations such as:
Altitude: SpaceX may operate the Grasshopper vehicle to an altitude that does not exceed 2500 feet AGL, in accordance with its application.
Thrust Termination Threshold: SpaceX must terminate Grasshopper's thrust if the vehicle's vacuum instantaneous impact point (IIP) exceeds 2100 feet from the launch point.
Testing Results: SpaceX must provide the FAA the results of SpaceX's hardware-in-the-loop (HITL) testing for analyzing the conditions of a proposed flight profile. SpaceX may proceed with a proposed flight profile after receiving written confirmation from the FAA that the HITL testing results are acceptable.