RED the Space cowboy survived the ring of fire.
SOARs to 263 FEET
SpaceX has reached the point of mission multitasking with a milestone flight for its autonomous Grasshopper rocket.
Even as its Dragon spacecraft orbits Earth attached to the International Space Station following a suspenseful post-launch fix of its thrusters, its Grasshopper rocket has flown 263 feet. Yes, 263 feet. That’s the highest launch yet for the autonomous vertical-takeoff and -landing rocket. The rocket launched, hovered over Texas approximately 34 seconds and returned to the pad with its most accurate landing to date, according to the company. The rocket flies with a closed-loop guidance system that manages to keep the rocket dancing on the proverbial head of a pin in a remarkable feat of, well, rocket science.
Company founder Elon Musk proudly showed off a video of the flight, which included Grasshopper’sfrequent-flying cowboy passenger, at SXSW during the weekend. Grasshopper is part of Musk’s long-term plan to build a reusable spacecraft and launch system that would bring the boost stage of the Falcon 9 rocket back to earth....
FULL STORY : http://www.wired.com/autopia/2013/03/second-spacex-launch-hovers/