SpaceX 'Grasshopper' Rocket Can Hover At 1KM Above Earth, And Land Safely

Reusable rockets are a big deal in commercial space circles. They're potentially cheaper than use-once rockets (for obvious reasons) and also have potential applications for all sorts of new types of craft. They also don't embarrass anyone by washing up on the shore of the Amazon rainforest.

Elon Musk's Space X is one of the companies working on rockets which are able to launch vertically to great heights, and then return to Earth safely for a soft, vertical landing.

And while it sounds far-fetched, the Falcon 9 'Grasshoppper' is making great progress. This video of its latest test shows the rocket launching to 1,000 metres above Earth, and then returning to the ground in a graceful descent.

In its current form the rocket's legs are permanently fixed to the side, but it is hoped they might soon be retractable. Which is obviously cooler.