This article is about rockets. For aircraft capable of vertical takeoff and landing see VTOL.
Pixel is a Quad that took off and landed vertically
Vertical takeoff, vertical landing (VTVL) is a form of takeoff and landing for rockets. Multiple VTVL craft have flown. As of 2012[update], at least six VTVL rocket vehicles are currently under development at four different aerospace companies. VTVL is often proposed as a viable technology for reusable rockets.
VTVL rockets are not to be confused with aircraft, where that class of aircraft which takeoff and land vertically (helicopters, etc.) are known as VTOL aircraft.
Grasshopper was a VTVL first-stage booster test vehicle SpaceX developed to validate various low-altitude, low-velocity engineering aspects of its large-vehicle reusable rocket technology. The test vehicle made eight successful test flights in 2012–2013. Grasshopper v1.0 made its eighth, and final, test flight on October 7, 2013, flying to an altitude of 744 metres (2,441 ft) (0.46 miles) before making its eighth successful VTVL landing.
Vertical landing rocket depicted in 1951 comic, Rocket Ship X.
Vertical landings of spaceships was the predominant mode of rocket landing envisioned in the pre-spaceflight era. Many Science Fiction authors as well as depictions in popular culture showed rockets landing vertically, typically resting after landing on the space vehicle's fins. This view was sufficiently ingrained in popular culture that in 1993, following a successful low-altitude test flight of a prototype rocket, a writer opined: "The DC-X launched vertically, hovered in mid-air ... The spacecraft stopped mid-air again and, as the engines throttled back, began its successful vertical landing. Just like Buck Rogers." In the 2010s, SpaceXrockets have likewise seen the appellation to this popular culture notion of Buck Rogers in a "Quest to Create a 'Buck Rogers' Reusable Rocket."
^Zak, Anatoly (2009-04-29). "Russia mulls rocket power 'first'". BBC News. Retrieved 2011-10-11. "RKK Energia, ... in the 1980s ... worked on a highly classified project to develop a large manned capsule, called Zarya ("Dawn"), for a wide range of civilian and military missions."
^Klerkx, Greg: Lost in Space: The Fall of NASA and the Dream of a New Space Age, page 104. Secker & Warburg, 2004
^"Reusable rocket prototype almost ready for first liftoff". Spaceflight Now. 2012-07-09. Retrieved 2012-07-13. "SpaceX has constructed a half-acre concrete launch facility in McGregor, and the Grasshopper rocket is already standing on the pad, outfitted with four insect-like silver landing legs."
^The Grasshopper prototype test vehicle has been retired. "Grasshopper flies to its highest height to date". Social media information release. SpaceX. 12 October 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2013. "WATCH: Grasshopper flies to its highest height to date - 744 m (2441 ft) into the Texas sky. http://youtu.be/9ZDkItO-0a4 This was the last scheduled test for the Grasshopper rig; next up will be low altitude tests of the Falcon 9 Reusable (F9R) development vehicle in Texas followed by high altitude testing in New Mexico."
^"Restoration Center Open House Highlights". New Mexico Museum of Space History. 2013-02-12. Retrieved 2014-03-24. "The DC-X launched vertically, hovered in mid-air at 150 feet, and began to move sideways at a dogtrot. After traveling 350 feet, the onboard global-positioning satellite unit indicated that the DC-X was directly over its landing point. The spacecraft stopped mid-air again and, as the engines throttled back, began its successful vertical landing. Just like Buck Rogers."
^Elon Musk, Scott Pelley (2014-03-30). Tesla and SpaceX: Elon Musk's industrial empire (video and transcript). CBS. Event occurs at 03:50–04:10. Retrieved 2014-03-31. "Only four entities have launched a space capsule into orbit and successfully brought it back: the United States, Russia, China, and Elon Musk. This Buck Rogers dream started years ago..."