From Grasshoppers tests and then Orbit and BackSpaceX reusable first stage rocket program was publicly announced in 2011. SpaceX first achieved a successful landing and recovery of a first stage in December 2015. SpaceX started Grasshopper tests on September 2012 and completed the Grasshopper tests on October, 2013. The SpaceX Falcon 9 Reusable Development Vehicle, or F9R Dev, was announced in October 2012. Tests were performed from April to August 2014. The first landing test of a first stage Falcon 9 was September 2013 on the sixth flight of a Falcon 9 and maiden launch of the v1.1 rocket version. From 2013 to 2016, sixteen test flights were conducted, six of which achieved a soft landing and recovery of the booster: * Flight 20 (Orbcomm OG2 M2) safely touching down on the LZ-1 ground pad upon first attempt in December 2015; * Flight 23 (CRS-8) finally achieving a stable landing at sea in the Atlantic on the drone ship, Of Course I Still Love You in April 2016 after four previous attempts ended in destruction of the booster upon impact; * Flights 24 (JCSAT-14) and 25 (Thaicom 8) returning at higher speed from GTO missions at sea on a drone ship in May 2016; * Flight 27 (CRS-9) returning to LZ-1 in July 2016; * Flight 28 (JCSAT-16) landing on a drone ship in August 2016; Since the January 2017 return to flight, SpaceX has stopped referring to landing attempts as experimental. Elon Musk and SpaceX mentioned the Falcon Heavy in 2005. The Falcon Heavy had a successful first flight in February 2017. There was significant work, redesign and ground testing from 2008 through 2016.
4 Months of Starhopper tests and Parallel Prep of Orbital RocketsThe SpaceX Starhopper prototype should begin tests this week. The orbital Starship prototype already has begun major pieces of the body. The choice of stainless steel construction has increased the speed of construction and testing. The orbital Starship prototype should have its first test in the second half of 2019. Getting a new rocket to orbit and back within 9 months of the beginning of testing would be four times faster than starting with the Grasshopper and reaching an unsuccessful orbital launch and landing attempt. If SpaceX could get from the start of development to a fully successful orbital rocket and reusable landing in two years would be about six times faster than the Falcon Heavy and twice as fast as that start of the reuse of the Falcon 9 first stage. If SpaceX could reach this rate of progress, they could go through two or even three major iterations of the Super Heavy Starship by 2030. There will likely be minor design upgrades every year.
Probably right. Starship rate of progress far exceeds Falcon & Dragon, although they’re critical to getting there. dInnovation/dt is what matters long-term.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) March 9, 2019