SpaceX had a successful test of their Grasshopper rocket.
News 92 FM in Houston reports – SpaceX Rocket Launches, Hovers, and Lands:
The ten-story tall vertical takeoff, vertical landing vehicle slowly lifts off the ground and climbs to a height of around 850 feet, then hovers effortlessly in the air before slowly lowering back down to the launch pad, successfully nailing one of the softest landings you’ll ever see.
I’m no rocket scientist, sitting here in my comfy armchair, but seems like a soft landing from an 850’ hover proves a critical skill for space travel to, say, asteroids or Mars. The jaw-dropping news here is this effort was privately designed, built, funded, and operated. Very cool.
Faster please, as Glenn Reynolds says.
Update 10-13-13: I don’t know if this is the same test. It appears to be from the same site. Regardless, a superb test and a superb view:
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