SpaceX has sought permission from the US Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) to test an experimental reusable launch vehicle (RLV) at its McGregor test site in Texas, US.

The new rocket will have vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) capabilities and the Grasshopper RLV consists of a Falcon 9 first stage tank, a single Merlin-1D engine, four steel landing legs and pressurisation tanks attached to the support structure.

The Merlin- 1D engine will have a maximum thrust of 122,000lb, while the overall height of the Grasshopper RLV is 106ft, and the tank height is 85ft.

The propellants used in the Grasshopper RLV include a highly refined kerosene fuel, called RP- 1, and liquid oxygen (LOX) as the oxidiser.

Testing of Grasshopper will take up to three years and will require the construction of a launch pad and other support infrastructure at McGregor facility.

SpaceX may run up to 70 suborbital launches a year, with the number assuming both potential multiple launches each day.